Departmental Bulletin Paper The Regional Regime of Accumulation in Ulsan City, Korea

Lim, Jungkeun  ,  Park, Jonghyun

30pp.41 - 60 , 2016-03 , The Institute of Comparative Economic Studies, Hosei University
Korea’s industrialization and economic growth have been evaluated in terms of their speed and quantity, but there have also been very severe confrontations between labor and capital, and radical spatial transformations. In this article, the regime involving the regional accumulation of capital in Ulsan City is discussed by focusing on the historical development of production system, wage relations, and the relationship between the labor movement and urban change. This spatially specific historical research shows that Ulsan was transformed by conflicts between capital and labor, and specific production systems. It provides a better understanding of Korean industrialization and urban change. Drawing on bibliographic and field research, it examines the semi-peripheral characteristics of industrial urbanization in Ulsan and their impact on Hyundai workers. In particular, it focuses on the interplay between urbanization, the production system, and workers’ struggles to understand how and why the labor movement has been involved with community concerns and national issues as well as conflicts at the workplace. The conclusions suggest that the workers’ struggle is an important factor in bringing about significant change to Ulsan City, and argues that urban studies should not miss the role of the proletariat as a collective actor.

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