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Title:Salient professionals, a silent profession: the rise, prominence, and marginalization of lawyers in Korea under Japan’s rule 1906-1945
Author(s):Park, Chunwoong
Director of Research:Jung, Moon-Kie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jung, Moon-Kie
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Marshall, Anna-Maria; Ghamari, Behrooz; Abelmann, Nancy A.; Kim, Jungwon
Department / Program:Sociology
Discipline:Sociology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Lawyer
Professionalization
Colonial Korea
Japanese Empire
Abstract:This dissertation examines how lawyers emerged as powerful professionals during the period of Japanese colonialism in Korea (1906-1945) even as the legal profession, as a whole, remained relatively disempowered. After the registration of the first three Korean lawyers as litigation experts in 1906, lawyers became prestigious ones in local politics, business, and society in colonial Korea, but the practicing lawyers remained largely inactive and silent as a collective for most of the colonial period. Although lawyers were appointed for lawsuits at the highest court level and rewarded with both social prestige and high salaries, they remained politically and juristically marginalized because of the colonial rule that enabled the attorney system to be dramatically implanted onto colonial Korea. To explicate the discrepancy between the dramatic rise and prominence of lawyer as individual practitioners and their collective disempowerment as bar associations in colonial Korea, this dissertation conceptualizes the colonial legal structures by relying theories of social structures and legal pluralism within colonial historiographies. I define colonial legal structures as hierarchically arranged legal orders that consist of formal procedures imposed by the colonizer on substantive legal sources originating from the colonized. I suggest that the legal profession be an actor that derived from the colonial legal structures that enable and constrain the boundary of its social action. Despite the establishments of educational institutes, qualifying examination, and the court system, all of which contributed to training and producing lawyers, the lawyers in colonial Korea remained unable to secure their legal expertise, build similar experiences, and claim equivalent status to the state. Consequently, the colonial legal structures facilitate lawyers to be prominent professionals but at the same time professionalize the lawyers to be individually salient but to be collectively silent. Through examining the professionalization of lawyers in colonial Korea under the Japanese Empire, I conclude that colonization brings the legal profession into the colony by establishing Western courts and procedures but segregates the profession from the field in which it is supposed to be. The establishment of a legal education, bar exams, and judicial bureaucracy necessitated the production of practicing lawyers who were expected to become prominent professionals in the fields of local politics, business, and society. Aside from the establishments of these formal institutions, however, the legal profession lacks the ground on which the collective entity of individual practitioners secure their expertise based on common experiences. I argue that the colonial legal structures professionalized the lawyers to be substantively shallow, because colonization deprived them of structural opportunities to employ native legal sources, to nurture an identity as a profession, and to contest with the state. This dissertation is based on 22 months of archival research that I conduced in Seoul, South Korea from October 2011 to July 2013. Of interest were the legislative efforts, enactments and the issuance of executive ordinances pertaining to lawyers, all of which were involved in constructing the attorney system from the late 1890s to the end of colonial rule in 1945. I also looked at governmental documents that recorded lawyers’ registration, transfer, and dropout in order to understand who the lawyers were and what their demography was during the period. With the governmental documents, I was able to construct a comprehensive survey of the profiles of 814 men who had registered as lawyers from 1906 to 1945. In addition to archives regarding legislative efforts for and the registration of lawyers, classified documents produced by the colonial government revealed how the government viewed and treated the practitioners. I also examined classified documents pertaining to lawyers’ registration produced by the colonial government to censor lawyers in colonial Korea.
Issue Date:2015-07-14
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/88260
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Chunwoong Park
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201


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