An analysis of sports policy in South Korea 1945-95, with special emphasis on factors influencing the implementation of a sport for all policy
As levels of economic prosperity grew in the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s in South Korea, so people's concern with health, and with leisure opportunities has grown. In particular since 1988 and the successful staging of the Seoul Olympics, and with the onset of a fledgling democratic government there has been increasing pressure to meet citizens' demands for sporting opportunities. A sport for all policy is a recent innovation in South Korea and little research has been carried out on its implementation, or indeed on sports participation more generally in the South Korean context. The rationale for promoting a policy of sport for all, which is essentially a welfare rationale, reflects the recent major changes in the political system, that is, a change to a democratic regime in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, developing from the system of government characterised by military authoritarianism for the majority of the period since the Korean War. The principal aims of the research on which the thesis is based are two hold. The first is to provide a review of the changing nature of sports policy over time in South Korea, covering the period from 1945 up to the present day, changes which have taken place against a background of significant politico-economic shifts. This is accomplished via an historical review of sports policy and its reporting by government sources and by media of contrasting political affiliation. Most recently there has been a discernible change in emphasis in sport policy, promoting in particular a sport for all approach. The second aim of the thesis is therefore to review the nature of sports participation in urban South Korea, to establish the level of participation, the nature of participants, and to identify barriers to participation, in order to evaluate whether the measures adopted in a sport for all promotion are coherent and likely to be adequate. This latter aim is achieved through the analysis of a questionnaire survey administered to a sample of 600 urban dwellers in the city of Suwon. In addition to supplement this, detailed sports histories are recorded for 79 individuals and for 10 married couples, in order to identify how key life events impact upon sports participation at the individual level. As with West European and American studies, statistically significantly greater levels of sports participation in a wider range of sports are associated with higher levels of education, income, full time employment, and gender (males participate significantly more widely and more often). The sports histories illustrate how major life events influence sports behaviour, while the sports histories of married couples reflect the mutual influence of the sports careers of marital partners, in particular the impact on female sporting behaviour of male sports careers. These findings suggest approaches and priorities which sports policy might take in fostering the achievement of sport for all goals. The major contributions of the thesis to knowledge in this field are, first an enhanced understanding of the development of sports policy in the South Korean context, and the relationship between sports policy goals and the goals of political actors in the evolution of the Korean system of government from styles of authoritarian nationalism to emergent liberal democracy; and second a data base on, and analysis of, sports participation in a major urban settlement, which incorporates for the first time in relation to South Korea, personal sports history data, and for the first time in the wider sports participation literature, analysis of the sports histories of married couples. These data are subsequently analysed in terms of their significance for sports policy in the contemporary South Korean context.