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Theorising the Korean State beyond Institutionalism: Class Content and Form of ‘National’ Development

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Although the Korean developmental state has been heavily discussed in various disciplines and across diverse political spectrums, the statist notion that the developmental state is autonomous from and disciplines society, and is therefore effective in achieving ‘national development’, has more often been taken for granted than problematised. Statism is also pervasive in institutionalism that emphasises the linkages rather than dichotomies between state and market and in the recent discussions on the transformation of the developmental state. This article proposes an alternative conceptual framework by reformulating ‘the form critique of the state’ pioneered by Evgeny Pashukanis and further developed in the ‘German state derivation debate’ on the one hand, and ‘world system analysis’ on the other. Extending the Marxist critique of ‘commodity fetishism’ to the theorisation of the developmental state, it inquires into the origins of statism and argues that it is the uneven dynamics of capitalism as a global system that give rise to statism in the first place.
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Keywords: Evgeny Pashukanis; Korean developmental state; class content; late development; social form; world-system analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),University of London, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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