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Center for Democracy and Economic Development

Since its inauguration in 2013, the Center for Democracy and Economic Development (CDED) has been analyzing the trajectories of development models of Korea and other developing countries in Asia, striving to produce theoretical and practical studies on sustainable democratic and economic development of the Asian region. The Center aims to build a framework of social democracy reflecting the unique characteristics of Korea and the rest of East Asia and offer an alternative perspective on contemporary Korean society with a focus on social economy.

Research Topics

In 2016, as part of its interdisciplinary analysis on the realization of social economy and civil politics in practice, CDED explored the potential and limitations of social economy and civil politics as tools to reassess today’s democracy. The researchers attempted to narrow the gap between academic debates and actual experience through interactions with activists in the field. To increase research efficiency, the agenda has been divided into two directions: 1) deepening research on social economy and 2) examining cases of civil politics nationwide.

First, the Center intensified its efforts for the project on the townlevel civil politics, which it has been carrying out since 2015, through over six months of fieldwork investigating civil economy within local neighborhoods. In this process, the researchers met not only members of civil society but also government officials of different levels and were able to render a more comprehensive view of their struggle to expand social economy.

Second, the Center exerted much effort to expand the scope of the debate on civil politics through seminars and guest lectures dealing with public-private governance for resolution of gentrification issues, sortition democracy, local politics and life politics, and other diverse ways civil politics is practiced in the realm of everyday life.

Finally, through interactions with activists in the field, the Center attempted to go beyond overcoming the gap between academic discussions and reality and use the research findings to supplement and enhance existing theories on the political nature of social economy.

Major Research Outcomes

In 2016, CDED organized a session titled “The Social Economy and Alternative Development Models in Asia” for the Inter-Asian Connections V: Seoul conference, cohosted by SNUAC and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The Center’s researchers along with junior and established scholars of diverse cultural backgrounds shared cases of social economy across the world and had in-depth discussions on the adoption and development of social economy in the Asian context. CDED has applied for SNUAC support in a project where the Center will be able to gather the participants of the Inter-Asian Connections session once again and publish a volume in collaboration with them.

An interdisciplinary analysis was conducted on cooperatives and other hybrid forms of social economy. In December 2016, CDED researchers gave presentations at the academic conference Social Economy from the Perspective of Social Sciences: Reexamining Hybridity and Diversity commemorating the 70th anniversary of SNU and suggested an interdisciplinary research framework for social economies of complex and hybrid character.

In addition, CDED carried out a project titled “Civil Economy within a Town” based on its previous investigation of civil politics in local neighborhoods. To differentiate the initiative from the civil politics project, the research focused on social economy and its scope was expanded from the Seoul area to the entire country. With support of the Korean Local Government Association and SNU Institute for Global Social Responsibility, the Center hosted a series of special lectures with activists and researchers and put much effort into producing qualitative research outcomes such as the presentation of interim findings at the Korean Political Science Association. Based on its experience of undergraduate student participation in research, CDED is conducting interdisciplinary research and education on civil politics in collaboration with other universities.

Outlook and Tasks for the Future

CDED strives to investigate in more detail various attempts to overcome the ongoing crisis and produce theories based on its findings. In particular, the Center aims to deepen and advance research on social economy and civil politics. As a next step in its examination of social economy, CDED will explore spontaneous efforts to deal with small and large problems and pending issues in local communities. While looking into the experiments overlooked in previous research projects and contemplating their meanings, CDED will study the driving forces and factors for the expansion of social economy in the future. The research findings will be presented in academic journals and conferences and published as books. Two volumes, one based on a participant observation project of undergraduate students in the second half of 2016 and tentatively titled Civil Politics in Gwanak District and the other integrating findings of a two-year (2015–2016) colloquium on various issues in civil politics and tentatively titled Civil Politics and Democracy, are expected to come out in the first half of 2017. The Center also plans to provide presentation opportunities to teams of Korean and foreign researchers.


Euiyoung Kim et al. (2016). <Hibridity and Diversity of Social Economy>. Purungil

Euiyoung Kim et al. (2016). <Citizen Economy>. Purungil

Euiyoung Kim (2016). Sustainable Development and Governance. National Strategy Vol. 22, No. 1

Hiroki Miura (2016). Operational Models of Cooperatives in Northeast Asia: Between Specialization and Rationalization. Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies Vol. 23, No. 2

Hiroki Miura (2016). The Terrain of Socio-economic Organizations in Japan and South Korea: Implications for the Associative Governance. Journal of Contemporary Politics Vol. 9, No. 2

T.K. Ahn et al. (2016). Partisan Trading in an Election Prediction Market: A Report on the 2012 Presidential Election Stock Market. Journal of Korean Politics Vol. 25, No. 3

Shin-kap Han (2016). Population Ecology of Cooperatives in Seoul, Korea. Korean Sociology Vol. 50, No. 1

TK Ahn et al (2016). Securing property rights: A dilemma experiment in Austria, Mexico, Mongolia, South Korea and the United States. Journal of Public Economics Vol. 143


Euiyoung Kim (Dept. of Political Science)

Shinkap Han (Dept. of Sociology)
TK Ahn (Dept. of Political Science)

Research Fellows:
Hiroki Miura (Institute for Korean Politics)

Research Assistant:
Jun-han Yon (SNU)
Wondong Lee (SNU)
Jinwok Jeong (SNU)