Social Integration has been an important issue in the Korean society as conflict anddisintegration become more severe problem in these days. This article reviews previousconcepts and theories of social integration, clarifying related concepts andproviding coherent logics of social integration.
Utilizing theories of economic and political institutions and social quality, this articleconceptualizes social integration as a ratio of potential conflicts and integrativecapacity. Under this conceptualization, it is an arduous task for a society which hashigh potential conflicts and low integrative capacity to achieve social integration.
On the other hand, a society with higher integrative capacity would maintain socialharmony despite high potential conflicts. Potential conflicts are measured as thesum of economic inequality, distrust, and disparity in value orientation. Next, socialintegration capacity was measured as the sum of system capacity, lifeworld capacity,and societal moral capacity. Here system capacity is composed of the governmentexpenditure on public educationa and welfare, life-world capacity as thesum of freedom of press, gender empowerment, voter turnout, and democracy.
Transparency was the measure for moral resources.
Calculation of social integration index using empirical data shows that Korearanked 40th among total 86 countries. Following profile analysis finds that distrustand ideological ․ cultural skewness are main sources of conflicts in Korea. It also reflectsthat Korea is lagging behind in political and social empowerment. It also revealsthat more transparency is needed to be more integrated and harmonizedsociety.
The empirical analysis shows that there should be two contrasting approaches formore social integration: ‘Tight coupling’ of norms and real application is requiredfor institutions related to public rules, whereas ‘loose coupling’ is necessary in educational,cultural and industrial areas where individuals’ autonomy and creativityplay essential role.