• South Korea;
  • development;
  • poverty;
  • developmental state;
  • Saemaul Undong;
  • New Village Movement


This study analyses Saemaul Undong (SMU; New Community or New Village Movement), a movement that inspired rural residents and served as an impetus for economic development in the 1970s in Korea, to provide guidance for poverty alleviation and local development for less developed countries on the basis of the Korean experience. By deploying discursive and trend approaches to SMU, this study attempts to reveal the interaction between the macroscopic (state) mobilization and the microscopic (civilian) participation in the SMU process. In addition, the study discusses SMU's contributions and limitations in order to reveal some of the drawbacks of SMU as issues that need to be considered if a similar kind of movement is to be applied to other developing countries. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.