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Law and Society Studies in Korea: Beyond the Hahm Theses

NCJ Number
Law and Society Review Volume: 23 Issue: 5 Dated: (1989) Pages: 891-901
K Yang
Date Published
11 pages
Hahm Pyong-Choon (1932-1983) was a representative scholar of Korean law and society, and his basic theoretical framework involves three theses.
According to the first thesis, the Korean legal system is composed of the superstructure (prescriptive postulates and organizational structures) and the infrastructure (cultural milieu). The second thesis is that the tension between the foreign superstructure and native infrastructure should be reduced by adapting the imported formal system to the indigenous legal culture. The third thesis concerns the problem of law and development. According to Hahm, the function of law, especially for economic development, is limited and rather negative. Several characteristics and problems related to Hahm's theses are examined. His basic perspective on law and society is too narrowly confined to a culture view. Although legal culture may constitute the legal system's infrastructure, the legal system is only one part of society. The fact that questionnaires in Hahm's studies are largely concentrated on civil law matters rather than criminal law seems the result of his disregard for politicosocial conditions. Future directions for law and society studies in Korea are discussed. 29 references.


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