chapter  4
17 Pages

NGOs in pursuit of ‘the public good’ in South Korea: Hyuk-Rae Kim


In the last few decades of the twentieth century, the global community witnessed the growing impact of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in local, national and international spheres (Boli and Thomas 1997; Ghils 1992; Price 1999). This was evident in their increasing involvement in a range of issues relating to human rights, gay rights and citizens’ rights, anticorruption, the environment, gender, health, disaster relief, grassroots development and consumer protection. NGOs actively shaped perceptions of what was in ‘the public interest’ and organised people and events to pursue those interests through providing goods and services. But NGOs’ activities extended well beyond their not-for-profit provision of goods and services to include the development of governance institutions (Clark 1991; Commission on Global Governance 1995; Korten 1990; Wolch 1990). In many instances, they played the role of policy entrepreneurs. For example, they proposed and assisted in the implementation of policies, and formed organisations dedicated to the protection of public interests by monitoring government and business activities (Fisher 1998; Kim 2000a; McCarthy et al. 1992; Salamon and Anheier 1994; Weiss and Gordenker 1996; Wuthnow 1991).