Late Industrialization, the State, and Social Changes

Article appearing in Comparative Political Studies, Volume 40, Issue 4

Although much has been written about the economic success of South Korea and other newly industrializing countries social changes in late industrializing countries are a significantly underexplored terrain of research. Focusing on the Korean case, this article analyzes how the state affected social changes in the course of industrialization. Contrary to conventional sociological findings, the author contends that industrialization in Korea brought about neofamilism, which is the unintended reinforcement of blood, school, and regional ties. The historical legacy of colonialism, the top leadership’s perception of lateness and urgency in industrialization and economic modernization, and patterns of recruitment in government and industry were identified as factors that caused the emergence of neofamilism in South Korea. The article also proposes the need for more extensive comparative studies to explore the socioinstitutional implications of state-led industrialization.