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  • Cited by 3
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
April 2021
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Book description

Although rights-based claims are diversifying and opportunities and resources for claims-making have improved, obtaining rights protections and catalysing social change in South Korea remain challenging processes. This volume examines how different groups in South Korea have defined and articulated grievances and mobilized to remedy them. It explores developments in the institutional contexts within which rights claiming occurs and in the sources of support available for utilizing different claims-making channels. Drawing on scores of original interviews, readings of court rulings and statutes, primary archival and digital sources, and interpretive analysis of news media coverage in Korean, this volume illuminates rights in action. The chapters uncover conflicts over contending rights claims, expose disparities between theory and practice in the law, trace interconnections among rights-based movements, and map emerging trends in the use of rights language. Case studies examine the rights of women, workers, people with disabilities, migrants, and sexual minorities.


‘Rights Claiming in South Korea is a rich, timely, and theoretically significant contribution to the sociolegal scholarship on rights mobilization. With an elegant combination of historical and contemporary studies, the book offers not only an in-depth inquiry into how legal rights are constructed and contested in South Korea, but also a rigorous and insightful engagement with the comparative studies on rights mobilization in East Asia and beyond.'

Sida Liu - University of Toronto

‘Rights Claiming in South Korea offers a comprehensive account of the historical roots of rights, institutional formations, and contemporary contestation over rights. Bringing together a truly interdisciplinary group of scholars, the book illuminates how rights discourses and associated legal and political infrastructures have transformed citizenship and mobilization in Korea. This book will appeal to readers interested in law and society, social movements, minority rights, and politics in Korea and beyond.‘

Hae Yeon Choo - Associate Professor, University of Toronto

‘In this insightful new volume, Celeste Arrington and Patricia Goedde lead a cross-disciplinary team of scholars to unpack how rights have been defined, mobilized, and contested by diverse groups in Korea from the nineteenth century to present. Rights Claiming in South Korea truly represents the best of interdisciplinary research and comes at a moment when the demand for rights on the streets and in the courts have never been greater.'

Andrew Yeo - Professor of Politics and Director of Asian Studies, The Catholic University of America

‘With this new volume in hand, we have a useful guide through which to observe and perhaps even stymie the troubling trajectory of extreme fragmentation and individualization, which are other facets of rights-claiming in South Korea that deserve our attention.’

Todd A. Henry Source: Pacific Affairs

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