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Koo, H.

Koo, H.

Hagen Koo, born in Seoul, Korea, in 1941. Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Evanston. Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.

Fellow (1 September 1998 – 30 June 1999)

As a member of the theme group on “East Asia and Latin American Development Compared”, my research was focussed on the issues of industrial relations, labour conflicts, and economic distribution in South Korea and Brazil. In collaboration with another member of our group, Kees Koonings, we prepared two co-authored papers and presented them at the conference we had at the NIAS in mid-June. Our theme group plans to publish our collaborative work in an edited book.

My major achievement at NIAS is the completion of a book manuscript, “The Fabrication of Worker Identity: The Formation of the Working Class in South Korea”, based on my previous research. This book presents a narrative of the distinctive pattern of the working-class movement in South Korea since the early 1960s and explains how Korean workers have been able to develop a much stronger and militant labor movement than found in other East Asian newly industrialised countries. While staying at the NIAS, I was invited to give talks and lectures at several universities and research institutes in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. Most important of all, I had much time to read and think, far more than I could have done over the several years while teaching at my university.