Yoonkyung Lee

Yoonkyung LeeAssociate Professor (Director of Graduate Studes)

Office: LT 409
Office hours as posted or by appointment.
Phone: ext. 7-2216
Email: yklee@binghamton.edu



I am currently Associate Professor in Sociology and Asian and Asian-American Studies at SUNY-Binghamton. As a political sociologist, I study labor politics, contentious social movements, political parties, and the political economy of development with a regional focus on East Asia.

My first book, Militants or Partisans: Labor Unions and Democratic Politics in Korea and Taiwan (Stanford University Press 2011), is a comparative study of labor movements in Korea and Taiwan and investigates how authoritarian legacies and partisan relations shaped the collective mobilization of workers and labor unions. My subsequent work on labor examines the impact of neoliberal globalization on restructuring the labor market, labor force composition, class restructuration, and new forms of labor protest.

I am currently working on a second book project, tentatively entitled Between the Streets and the National Assembly: Political Parties and Social Movements in Korea. This study examines political parties in interaction with a strong state and an active pro-democracy movement and identifies the historical and institutional conditions that have hindered the development of effective political parties in Korea. Another stream of research that I conduct is about diverse forms of popular reaction to the rising socioeconomic inequality in East Asia. I explore (1) the reformulation of labor movements faced with adverse structural conditions and material deterioration, and (2) the emergence of class voting and social welfare politics in the context of heightened economic disparity.

My work has appeared in Globalizations, Studies in Comparative International Development, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Survey, Critical Asian Studies, Korea Observer, and Taiwanese Sociology.

Recent Courses:

  • Graduate seminars:  Structural Inequalities, Theories of Social Movements
  • Undergraduate courses:  Social Research Methods, States and Markets in East Asia, Globalization and Asia, Korean Politics through Cinema, and Social Movements

Recent Publications:

  • Militants or Partisans: Labor Unions and Democratic Politics in Korea and Taiwan (Stanford University Press 2011)
  • "Sky Protest: New Forms of Labor Resistance in Neoliberal Korea" Journal of Contemporary Asia 45-3 (2015)
    *Winner of the Journal of Contemporary Asia Prize for papers published in 2015
  • "Labor's Political Representation: Divergent Paths in Korea and Taiwan" in Working Through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective edited by Teri Caraway, Maria Lorena Cook, and Stephan Crowley (Cornell University Press, 2015)
  • "Labor After Neoliberalism: The Birth of the Insecure Class in Korea" Globalizations 11-4(2014)
  • "Political Parties and Social Movements: Patterns of Democratic Representation in Korea and Taiwan" Asian Survey 54-3 (2014)

Last Updated: 8/31/15