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The political and social economy of care : Republic of Korea

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  • The political and social economy of care
  • Peng, Ito
  • United Nations Research Institute for Social Development


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Title The political and social economy of care
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Sub Title

Republic of Korea

Material Type Reports
Author(English)

Peng, Ito

Publisher

[Geneva]:United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

Date 2009-06
Series Title; No Research Report / 3
Pages 64
Subject Country South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
Language English
File Type Link
Subject Social Development < General
Holding United Nations Research Institute for Social Devel

Abstract

In this paper I apply the idea of the “care diamond” (Razavi 2007), a conceptual framework used to understand how societal care is produced and provided by the state, market, family, and community, to the political and social economy of care in the Republic of Korea (hereafter Korea). I argue that the institutional arrangements making up the care diamond in Korea have changed quite noticeably since the 1990s in response to the country’s evolving political, economic, and social contexts. Using the case of family-work harmonization policy reforms, I discuss the reconfiguration of the care diamond and what this means for gender. The paper is divided into three sections. Section 1 describes the social policy regime in Korea and how this relates to the idea of the care diamond. Section 2 highlights key findings from our Time Use Survey analysis based on data from 1999 and 2004,1 showing that despite increased state support for family care, women continue to take on a large share of unpaid care work within households, and that the total value of this work represents a significant percentage of Korea’s GDP. Finally, Section 3 provides an in-depth examination of the changing dynamics of the care diamond in Korea since the 1990s and considers implications forgender.