chapter  4
The anti-communitarian family? Everyday conditions of authoritarian politics in South Korea
Everyday conditions of authoritarian politics Chang Kyung-Sup
ByCHANG KYUNG-SUP
Pages 21

In East Asia, communitarianism as an ideology is tied invariably to Confucianism. Within the latter, the self is always relational to a larger unit and the cultivation of the self is not simply a process of individualist selfformation but deemed as the preparation for managing the family, governing the nation and bringing peace on earth. The family, not the individual, is deemed the fundamental unit of social life – that is, community life. As familial well-being is the responsibility of all its members, the family as an institution operates not only as an enabling institution that provides for its members but also as a strict disciplinary agency in constraining the lives of its members. Within this doubled function the actual working of the family and the costs it extracts from its members for its own welfare are often invisible to the ideological configuration of its place in generating communitarian spirit in the larger society.