Have the Local People Become Invisible? A Case Study of a Military Base Installation on Jeju Island, South Korea

Authors: Nayoung Jo*, University of Maryland
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Human-Environment Geography, Regional Geography
Keywords: Environmental Justice, Local Participation, Political Ecology, Scale, Marginalization, EIA
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study examines the effects of the construction of a military base on local communities on Jeju Island, South Korea. The South Korean military's intent in building these facilities is to demonstrate military sovereignty to neighboring countries while also providing socio-economic benefits to the local population. However, local communities continue to resist contemporary military construction policies due to the ecological, social and economic impacts of this process, which are exacerbated by the government’s unilateral approach and its failure to implement a system where the surrounding localities can influence construction policies (Sze et al., 2009). While resistance to military facilities is widely documented, this study focuses on environmental justice and political ecology as a framework for suggesting changes to current military construction policies and broader government initiatives. By using phenomenology to analyze open-ended interview data with t local people who have been deeply involved in the overall process, this research concluded that 1) the local people were made voiceless and invisible through marginalization by the government; 2) this case is an environmental injustice case by identifying how the current process marginalizes local communities and environmental impacts through the analytical frames of environmental justice and the concept of scale; and 3) the combination of the analytical frame of environmental justice and the concept of scale from political ecology is a more effective application of this study and can contribute to future related studies

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