Civil Society in Korea has a long history of involvement in politics and democracy transition since 1980s. The economic crisis of 1997 accelerated the democratic transformation as the authoritarian developmental state was put under scrutiny. Korean CSOs then has empowered the people to become more assertive in political arena. Traditionally, non-governmental organizations were limited to organizing political protests against the authoritarian regimes and providing social services for disadvantaged groups of people. After becoming more institutionalized, the CSOs and NGOs have expanded their roles to include various policy areas. They have promoted political participation, voluntary social service, participatory democracy in the country.
Civil Society Organizations have played a significant role in the general elections to call for transparency society, conducting nation-wide campaigns against disqualified parliamentarian, advocating rights of the formerly marginalized groups.
Among the leading civil society organizations addressing governance, accountability, transparency or anti-corruption measures are Transparency International Korea (TI Korea), the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, the Citizens’ Coalition for Better Government and the Citizens’ Association against Corruption.
Suchit Bunbongkarn, The role of civil society in democratic consolidation in Asia, http://apcss.org/Publications/Edited%20Volumes/GrowthGovernance_files/Pub_Growth%20Governance/Pub_GrowthGovernancech10.pdf.
Cameron Lowry, ,Civil Society Engagement in Asia: Six Country Profiles- Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, East-West Center, July 14-16, 2008, http://www.eastwestcenter.org/fileadmin/resources/research/PDFs/Combined_country_reviews.pdf.