Importing an ideology as a vision of the contemporary society: the discussion of the social investment state in South Korea

In the last few years, the notion of a social investment state has been emerged as one of the most discussed themes in the Government, amongst politicians, and academics in South Korea. The former President highlighted ‘social investment’ as a major policy principle in social policy, while some flagship policies for this approach were implemented. Moreover, with the presidential election ahead, almost half of the initial prospective candidates within the former ruling party adopted the social investment state as a part of their political vision. At the same time, in the academic circle, the discussion of the social investment state has attracted a significant volume of attention as an alternative vision of the contemporary society.

However, the interpretations of the social investment state have considerable divergences among the Government, politicians, and academics, although all of them similarly refer to the well-known academics in Britain as well as the New Labour government as a model. On one hand, these differences are examined by the analysis of policy documents, speeches, and publications and explained with the different context of each group’s interest in the social investment state. On the other hand, the mutual influences among them are investigated by the exploration of the network and the interactive activities though advisory committees, meetings, and conferences. This case study contributes to the understanding of the process of ideological transfer, particularly importing a foreign paradigm into the domestic political context. Also, the potential and limitations of the process are discussed to suggest some theoretical implications for policy transfer in macro level.

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Kim, B. Y. 2008. Importing an ideology as a vision of the contemporary society: the discussion of social investment state in Korea. presented at Policy & Politics International Conference “Policy Transfer in a Globalised World”.

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