Workshops
[2014] Routledge Workshop 2: Democratic Leadership in East Asian Context

Routledge Series of Political Theories in East Asian Context
International Symposium II, 2014

Democratic Leadership in East Asian Context

Co-hosted by the Office of Congressman Jae Chun Choi & the Institute for Values and Ethics at Soongsil University
3rd Seminar Room (2nd Floor), the Member’s Hall at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea
December 18, 2014

1. Theme Statement

Increasingly, we are entering what Colin Crouch calls ‘post-democracy.’ While society is moving rapidly toward full constitutional democracy in the sense that so-called free elections can make governments more accountable and responsible for their conduct, citizens are gradually becoming a passive and incoherent mass who respond only intermittently to the dramatic issues set forth by politicians and militant political activists. Certainly, this post-democratic paradox has been observed by many scholars and conceptualized as a challenge to constitutional democracy. In the advanced electoral democracies, many citizens have become increasingly distrustful of the institutions of democracy and of politicians in general. They consider political life to be dominated by media, money, lawyers, and anything other than democratic procedures. Furthermore, citizens of the advanced democracies are not the only people who feel disappointed with post-democracy. Faltering on the verge of democratic consolidation, some new democracies have reached a stalemate between the expansion of democracy and the trivialization of democratic deliberation. In any case, we have good reason to rethink democracy at the most fundamental levels.

At the same time, interest in ‘democratic’ leadership has never been higher. Politicians of all electoral democracies stress its importance, and so do activists and every kind of social and political group. Despite increasing dissatisfaction with the actual democratic procedures, citizens continue to approve of democracy itself. It has been widely acknowledged that whatever the problem might be, democracy can provide the most effective mechanism for citizens to promote their collective interests, and steer their political leaders toward the common good of the people.

At this juncture, the nature of democratic leadership and its qualities should meet the demands for popular sovereignty and for the effectiveness of representation. Scholarly concerns about democratic leadership extend far back into the history of political philosophy, and concepts of it have fluctuated from ‘the rule of the wise’ or ‘virtuous leadership’ (which is based on a strong mandate) to political authority (which is restricted by constitutional accountability to the sovereignty of the people). The concerns of democratic leadership are gradually converged upon the construction of political authority that can function to convert the self-subverting quality of democratic politics into a beneficial reform.

Over the past two decades, Confucian political theorists have engaged in this scholarly inquiry into democratic leadership. They have tried to show that ‘Confucian’ cultures are capable of going beyond Western-style liberal democracy, and to suggest an alternative conception of ‘democratic’ leadership with which ‘popular sovereignty’ or ‘egalitarian deliberation’ can be legitimately or appropriately limited for the public good. By juxtaposing Confucian virtue politics with ‘the rule of the wise’ or ‘meritocratic democracy,’ they propose a bicameral legislature model that authorizes the Confucian upper house to ‘override’ the democratic lower house. They emphasize that in Confucian China, a certain type of political accountability could exist without a democratic mechanism, and it effectively functioned to promote the public good. They also propose a meritocratic democracy in which the active participation of common people in politics should be strictly limited to local or daily affairs. The conception of a bicameral legislature is actually closer to the liberal constitutional model of democratic leadership than to meritocracy, while the latter view seeks to confine political deliberation to ‘the rule of the wise.’

Whatever the appropriate set of correspondences between popular sovereignty and good judgment, scholarly concerns about ‘democratic’ leadership should be aimed at providing us with a regulative ideal which permits the exercise of good judgment for the sake of the public’s good, but does not uphold a tyrannical and unaccountable use of power. In this combination, the Confucian reconfigurations of democracy and ‘democratic’ leadership appear somewhat ambiguous. Specifically, the contestability of the people against the arbitrary use of political power seems not to be taken as seriously as it should be according to the models of ‘Confucian’ democracy. And if we consider political accountability as an imperative element of democratic leadership, the legitimacy of democratic leadership should not automatically ensue even if a political leader is endowed with a capacity for good judgment.

Based on these considerations, this workshop is constructed so as to examine the historical evolution of ‘the rule of the wise’ and ‘good leadership’ in East Asian history and their correlations to the current understandings of ‘democratic’ leadership and ‘responsible’ leadership in East Asian societies. We will survey the latest theoretical contributions to the studies of democratic leadership in Western countries and the latest understandings of how democratic authority has been appropriated in East Asian countries. We will also investigate what can be a regulative ideal of democratic leadership for non-Western practices in which the moral foundations of liberal and republican constitutionalism, including legal accountability and political contestability, are not historically amalgamated. In the same vein, we will anticipate the possible contribution of East Asian practices to the study of democratic leadership.

2. Conference Schedule

I. Opening Ceremony (9:00-10:00 AM: English-Korean Translation) [3rd Seminar Room]

Jae-Chun CHOI, Member of the National Assembly
Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-Director of IVE at Soongsil University & General Editor of the Routledge Series of Political Theories in East Asian Context

II. Session One: Leadership in China, Ancient and Modern (10:20-12:00 AM) [3rd Seminar Room]

*Moderator
Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-director of IVE at Soongsil University & General Editor of the Routledge Series of Political Theories in East Asian Context

  • Papers
    Stephen ANGLE, Professor of Philosophy and East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University
    “Why Confucian Leaders Must be Democrats?”
    Demin DUAN, Professor of the School of Government, Peking University “The Communist Party’s Political Representation in China: Transition and Its Meanings”

III. Lunch Break (12:00-13:30 PM: Special Room 1, Member’s Restaurant at the Member’s Hall)

IV. Session Two: Expediency and Democratic Leadership (14:00-15:40 PM) [Venue: Room 210]

  • Moderator
    Stephen ANGLE, Professor of Philosophy and East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University
  • Papers
    Hong-kyu PARK, Professor of Political Science & International Relations, Korea University
    “King Taejong as a Statesman: From Power to Authority”
    Koichiro MATSUDA, Professor of Japanese Political Thought, Rikkyo University
    “Against Expediency: Political Leadership and Public Morality in Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Political Essays”
    Nahui CHEN, Ph.D Candidate of History Division, Nanyang Technological University
    “Structuring Singapore Model in China: China Leaders’ Perception and Interpretation of Lee Kuan Yew’s Leadership”
    V. Session Three: Democratic Leadership in Different Contexts (16:00-17:40 PM) [Venue: Room 210]
  • Moderator
    Koichiro MATSUDA, Professor of Japanese Political Thought & Director of International Affairs at Rikkyo University
  • Papers
    Naoyuki UMEMORI, Professor of Political Science & Economics, Waseda University
    “Between the Universal Republic and the Emperor System: Some Reflections on Recent Transformation of Democratic Leadership in Japan”
    Kenneth Paul TAN, Professor of Lee Kuan Yew School, National University of Singapore
    “Democratic Leadership and Singapore’s Civil Society” (tentative)
    Jun-Hyeok KWAK, Co-director of IVE, Soongsil University “Democratic Leader or Populist Demagogue: Analyzing Roh Moo-hyun’s Political Rhetoric”

VI. Dinner at Korean Restaurant, the National Assembly (18:30 PM)

3. Tentative Book Contents

I. Introduction

1. Democratic Leadership in East Asian Context
Jun-Hyeok Kwak (Co-director of IVE, Soongsil University)

II. Theoretical Overviews of Democratic Leadership

2. Honor in Democratic Leadership
Haig Patapan (Professor of Government and International Relations, Griffith University)
3. Democratic Persuasion with Reciprocal Non-domination
Jun-Hyeok Kwak (Co-director of IVE, Soongsil University)
4. Democratic Leadership and Singapore’s Civil Society Kenneth Paul Tan (Professor of Lee Kuan Yew School, NSU)

II. Historical Complexities of Democratic Leadership in East Asia

5. Why Confucian Leaders Must be Democrats?
Stephen Angle, Professor of Philosophy and East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University
6. King Taejong as a Statesman: From Power to Authority
Hong-kyu Park, Professor of Political Science & International Relations, Korea University
7. Against Expediency: Political Leadership and Public Morality in Fukuzawa Yukichi
Koichiro Matsuda, Professor of Japanese Political Thought, Rikkyo University

III. Current Implications of Democratic Leadership in East Asia

8. Between Universal Republic and Emperor System: Recent Transformations of Democratic Leadership in Japan
Naoyuki Umemori, Professor of Political Science & Economics, Waseda University
9. Democratic Leader or Populist Demagogue: Analyzing Roh Moo-hyun’s Political Rhetoric
Jun-Hyeok Kwak, Co-director of IVE, Soongsil University
10. The Communist Party’s Political Representation in China: Transition and Its Meanings
Demin Duan, Professor of the School of Government, Peking University
11. Structuring Singapore Model in China (tentative)
Nahui Chen, Ph.D Candidate of History Division, Nanyang Technological University