Jongkil Kim

Kurzexposé zum Promotionsvorhaben von Jongkil Kim

The Shift of Hegemony and Marginalization of Labour: A Neo-Gramscian Approach to the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

Of the FTAs led by the USA, the importance of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which was first signed in 2007 and then passed in 2011, occupies a special place because of three reasons. Firstly, given the geopolitical importance of South Korea, the KORUS is worth being researched because it entails something more important than the economic aspects to be assessed. Secondly, an empirical research on the KORUS offers meaningful insights to the research on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA, thereby contributing to the development of the critical approaches to the TTIP as an interesting case study. Thirdly, the KORUS is perceived as a template for other FTAs among OECD countries. Since it is highly likely that the USA attempts to conclude any future FTAs á la the KORUS, more attention needs to be drawn to it. However, given the erstwhile literature on the KORUS, it has been studied in quite a narrow perspective that only evaluates the economic effects on both countries and thus neglects its socio-political impact. A broader focus of the neo-Gramscian approach may be well suited for analyzing the societal ramifications about which the KORUS has brought.

This research focuses on the changes surrounding the KORUS that can be noticed inside South Korea. The planned PhD thesis assumes that the KORUS was a watershed that brought about significant changes in hegemony within the Korean society. It thus aims to analyze the hegemonic transformations within the national ruling classes of South Korea and the marginalization of the labour by the subsequently intensified hegemonic power of the ruling groups.