Is civil society gendered? What can the Korean women's movement tell us about the very notion and working of civil society and the 1990s history of democratization in South Korea? Students of democratization have overlooked these questions in their study of civil society as a vehicle of democratization and counterweight to the repressive state or the totalizing market (Silliman and Noble 1998; White 1996; Koo 1993; Cohen and Arato 1992; Gold 1990; Keane 1988). Recent criticisms of the celebration of civil society as the third path to societal democratization point out that such analyses tend to lapse into abstract discussions of relations between the state and civil society, devoid of a specific historical or social context (Fine 1997; Tempest 1997; Blaney and Pasha 1993). This absence of context can also lead to an inadequate view of civil society as a uniform and homogeneous space without social inequalities or divisions.

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