Current debates regarding deinstitutionalisation for disabled people in South Korea

Se Kwang Hwang, Kyung Mee Kim*, Chung Eun Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The process of deinstitutionalisation gained momentum in the late 20th century, driven by disability rights movements and increased awareness of the harms of institutionalisation. This paper provides an overview of deinstitutionalisation in South Korea, focusing on the transformation of large disability residential facilities since the 1970s, with efforts towards promoting independent living. Current debates highlight conflicting perspectives among stakeholders. Advocates, primarily disabled individuals, support accelerated deinstitutionalisation for its benefits in autonomy, social integration, and improved quality of life. However, oppositions from families and service providers express concerns about care gaps and the need for specialised support for people with higher support needs. The paper underscores the importance of establishing a consensus on deinstitutionalisation objectives and proposes multidimensional alternatives, including legislative reforms, expanded community services, and improved facilities. Fostering social agreement is identified as pivotal for successful deinstitutionalisation and the well-being of disabled individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalDisability & Society
Early online date30 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2024

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