Staci Jin-young Kim, Young-jun Lee


Korea has undergone dramatic change since the 1970s when economic development kicked into high gear. Unprecedentedly fast industrialization accelerated the phenomenon of rural-urban migration. As a result, traditional society which had previously been centered by regional ties and kinship began eroding. The values and norms that were common in the past came to lose their power as Korean people have pursued ‘free market values,’ ‘growth,’ and ‘social stability.’ In other words, the acceleration of the free market compelled competition among individuals. The victories earned from these competitions secured capital surpluses whereas failure meant being degraded to the urban lower class. Due to this fear, the tendency to pursue stability became dominant among Koreans. During this era in the 1970s, religion explosively expanded for a certain period of time owing to social and psychological anxieties that had been born from previously unknown levels of competition in Korea.

Keywords: Competition, Religious population, Religious nones, Secularization, Korean society.

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