Youngmi Kim

Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies


Youngmi joined the Department of Asian Studies as a Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies in August 2017. Prior to this, Youngmi was an Associate Professor of international relations and public policy at Central European University, Budapest. At CEU she was the director of the Global E-School in Eurasia, a large multi-country online education program in Korean Studies, bringing together 24 universities in 18 countries in Europe and Asia, supported by the Korea Foundation. Youngmi also worked at the University of Edinburgh in 2007-2009 when she was an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow and a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the School of Social and Political Science. She has also taught at University College Dublin and has held visiting positions at the University of Vienna (Austria) and the National Chengchi University in Taipei (Taiwan). During 2013-2016 she has also been involved in a large research and teaching capacity-building project in Myanmar, funded by the Open Society Foundations. In 2019, in cooperation with the Pansodan Art Gallery in Yangon, she led the 'Bahu (Plural): Healing Festivals', a series of art exhibitions in Myanmar promoting participation and inclusion among Myanmar's youth.

Youngmi’s main interests are in comparative politics and international relations, especially in the study of political parties and party systems, governability, inequality, online activism, global cities and urban policies, and comparative regionalism. Her current research explores the rise of polarization, inequality and political contention in South Korea, urban management and planning in Myanmar,  online political participation, activism and populism in Asia's democracies, and global cities.

Teaching interests

  • Korean culture
  • Korean politics and public policy
  • East Asia in International Relations
  • Political economy of the Korean peninsula
  • Global cities
  • Comparative regionalism


  • BA in Sociology, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • MA in Political Science, Korea University, South Korea
  • MSc by Research in Politics, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • PhD in East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, UK

Responsibilities & affiliations

Head of Subject, Korean Studies

Director, Scottish Centre for Korean Studies

Postgraduate teaching

  • Korean politics and international relations
  • Unwritten Korea: Understanding Korean society and culture through films and the arts

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome enquiries about supervision of doctoral projects on Korean politics, society and international relations; global cities; and various aspects related to Myanmar's politics and society.

Current PhD students supervised

Ji-Eun Ahn (Sociology, 2018-) (co-supervisor) Tong Zhou (East Asian Studies, 2019-) Yejin Shin (Korean Studies, 2020-) Esti Saenz (Korean Studies, 2020-) Jack Mitchell (East Asian Studies, 2020-) Shihui Yin (East Asian Studies, 2019-) Tonghui Li (Korean Studies, 2020-) Yue Yang (East Asian Studies 2020-)

Research summary

Youngmi's current research interests include:

  • South and North Korea
  • Korean politics, society, culture and economy
  • Social movements and digital activism
  • Comparative Politics (especially party politics, government)
  • Socio-economic inequalities
  • Global South
  • Myanmar
  • Taiwan
  • Urban studies
  • Global cities
  • Teaching and learning (online education; capacity-building)

Current project grants

2022-2027: Consolidating the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies (CKS) at the University of Edinburgh. Academy of Korean Studies CORE Grant.
2019-2022: Establishing the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies (CKS) at the University of Edinburgh. Academy of Korean Studies SEED Grant.
2019: Healing Festivals . Performing and imagining equality and inclusion in Myanmar. Global Challenges Research Fund, University of Edinburgh
2018-2021: The political economy of military transition in Korea and Myanmar. British Academy
2019:Inequality in global cities. Seoul and comparative perspectives. Academy of Korean Studies, Conference grant.

Past project grants

2016 ​Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fellow, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
2013-2016​ Building teaching and research capacity in political science and international relations at Myanmar’s universities, Open Society Foundations
2012-2016​Korea Foundation Global E-School Program Grant
2012-14​CEU SUN (Summer School University), Comparative Regionalisms: Changing Forms of Governance in Asia, Africa and the Americas and their Effects on the World Order
2012-present​ Korea Foundation Korean Studies Database Library Grant
2011-2016 ​Academy of Korean Studies, Digital Platform in Korean Studies
2009-2011 ​British Academy Small Grants
2008-2009 ​Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship
2007-2008 ​ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
2007 ​​Japan Foundation Local Project Support program
2007 ​​Strategic Research Support Fund, School of Social and Political
Studies, University of Edinburgh
2004-2007 ​Korea Foundation, Fellowship for Graduate Studies



  • 2011 The Politics of Coalition in Korea: Between Institutions and Culture. (Routledge) (2014 paperback edition)

Edited volume

  • 2018 Korea's quest for economic democratization. Globalization, polarization and contention (Palgrave)


  • 2022 The 2022 Election in South Korea: The Politics of Resentment and Revenge Confirms Older Trends and Cleavages and Reveals New Ones, Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs 8, no. 1, pp. 14-22.
  • 2021 Mirroring misogyny in Hell Chosŏn. Megalia, Womad, and Korea’s feminism in the age of digital populism. European Journal of Korean Studies, 20(2), 101-133.
  • 2021 Adaptation and resistance in and around Korea: The cases of migrant workers, diasporas, labourers and online feminist activists.European Journal of Korean Studies, 20(2): 1-5.
  • 2020 South Korea: Elections amid a pandemic. The Diplomat, issue 65, April.
  • 2018  Mandalay, Myanmar: The remaking of a South-East Asian Hub in a Country at the Crossroads. Cities - The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. 72(B), 274-286. SSCI-listed, impact factor 5.8
  • 2016  The 2015 parliamentary and 2016 presidential elections in Myanmar, Electoral Studies, 44 SSCI-listed, impact 1.203.
  • 2015 Mapping South Korea’s Soft Power: Sources, Actors, Tools, and Impact. Romanian Journal of Sociological Studies, 1 (with V. Marinescu).

  • 2014  The 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in South Korea. Electoral Studies, 34, SSCI-listed, impact 1.203.
  • 2014 North Korea: Crisis as an Opportunity and the Unintended Consequences of Engagement. Wiener Beiträge zur Koreaforschung, VI, 7-15.

  • 2012 Confucianism and coalition politics. Journal of Northeast Asian History, 9(2).

  • 2009 Digital Populism in South Korea? Internet Culture and the trouble with direct participation. KEI Academic Paper Series on Korea, 3(8).

  • 2008 Intra-party politics and minority coalition government in South Korea. Japanese Journal of Political Science, 9(3).

  • 2008 Pathologies or Progress? Evaluating the effects of Divided Government and Party Volatility. Japanese Journal of Political Science, 9(3) (with F.O. Yap), SSCI-listed, impact factor 0.508.

  • 2008 Explaining minority coalition government and governability in South Korea: A review essay. Korea Observer, 39(1), SSCI-listed.

Book chapters

  • 2022 Evolution of political parties and party system in South Korea. In: S. Lim and N. Alsford (eds) Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Korea.
  • 2018 Hell Joseon: Polarization and social contention in a neo-liberal age. In: Y. Kim (ed) Korea's quest for economic democratization. Globalization, polarization and contention (Palgrave)
  • 2018 Emerging cleavages in Korean society: Region, generation, ideology and class. In: Y. Kim (ed) Korea's quest for economic democratization. Globalization, polarization and contention (Palgrave)

  • 2018 The promise of people-led change and the prospect of a new transition. In: Y. Kim (ed) Korea's quest for economic democratization. Globalization, polarization and contention (Palgrave)


  • 2021 Will resurgent misogyny undo South Korea's progress with gender equality? East Asia Forum, May.
  • 2021 South Korea's political pendulum swings again.The Diplomat, May. 
  • 2020 Will the Handling of the Coronavirus Pandemic Define the Moon Presidency? South Korea's Elections Dossier. Institute for the Study of International Politics (ISP), Milan, Italy, 9 April.
  • 2020 'Democracy, elections and pandemics: How South Korea ran parliamentary elections during the Covid-19 crisis'. GLOBALCIT, EUI, 4 May.
  • 2010 'Coalition Formation',  in G. Kurian (ed) International Encyclopedia of Political  Science, American Political Science Association (CQ Press/Sage).