[KS] Varieties and taxonomy of evolving Korean (post-)nationalisms
Afostercarter at aol.com
Afostercarter at aol.com
Tue Sep 4 04:14:58 EDT 2007
Dear friends and colleagues,
I append a recent article from the Chosun Ilbo,
at once fascinating and frustrating.
The themes are of great interest and importance;
yet the treatment is so cursory as to be all but useless.
(What, substantively, is a 'post-nationalist'?)
Could anyone kindly point me to sources where these
matters are discussed at greater length and in more depth?
Autumn greetings to one and all,
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds
Home address: 17 Birklands Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3BY, UK
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Email: _afostercarter at aol.com_ (mailto:afostercarter at aol.com) (alt)
_afostercarter at yahoo.com_ (mailto:afostercarter at yahoo.com) website:
[Please use @aol; but if any problems, please try @yahoo too – and let me
know, so I can chide AOL]
New Trends in Korean Nationalism
Updated Sep.3,2007 11:06 KST
South Koreans' attitude toward the U.S., as seen in the latest hostage crisis
in Afghanistan, was markedly different from the anti-American sentiment
vented during the kidnapping and beheading of Kim Sun-il in Iraq in June 2004.
Despite some minor protests, the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade
agreement is proceeding apace, with anti-American, pro-North Korean voices much
quieter than they have been.
Several academics say the 20-year-long marriage between the Left and
nationalists born in the democratic struggle against authoritarian governments in
the 1970s and 1980s is coming to an end. That means farewell to the defensive,
registance nationalism produced by Korea’s history in the 20th century.
Foreign experts, by contrast, worry that Korean nationalism is becoming more
Prof. Kang Won-taek of Soongsil University defines this trend as a
transition from Korean nationalism to South Korean or “Republic-of-Korea”
nationalism. But Kang says it would be missing the point if we regard it only as a trend
of nationalists turning to the Right. According to Kang, this new South
Korean nationalism owes something to the advent of a “post-386” generation who
are IT- savvy and aware of globalization, and to a change in South Koreans'
perception of North Korea and a more realistic understanding of the situation
the Korean Peninsula finds itself in.
Prof. Kim Ho-ki, a center-left academic at Yonsei University, says the
spectrum is more complex. The Right, he says, is divided into nationalists and
post-nationalist or pro-market forces, and so is the Left, while in between there
are centrist nationalists and post-nationalists.
The conventional nationalists on the Right stress a patriotic view of
history. Rightwing post-nationalists, led by the novelist Bok Geo-il, are backed by
businesses that emphasize globalization. The conventional nationalists of the
Left are pro-North Korea; leading figures are Baek Nak-cheong, a professor
emeritus of Seoul National University, and Kang Man-gil, a former Korea
University professor. Over the past 20-odd years, this group has exercised the most
powerful influence on intellectuals, their ideology a major influence on the
Kim Dae-jung administration.
Leftwing post-nationalists include Prof. Jin Jung-kwon of Chung-Ang
University, Prof. Sohn Ho-chul of Sogang University, and Russian-born scholar Park
"As far as large social currents are concerned, it's clear that both
intellectuals and the general public are now moving from leftwing nationalism to
rightwing post-nationalism,” Kim Ho-ki said. “But we’ll need more observation
and research to see what the new nationalism will look like."
Prof. Jun Sang-In of Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public
Administration says leftwing nationalism is conspicuously losing its influence
among the populace, “decisively because people are disappointed by the
leftwing governments of the past decade." Shin Ji-ho, the president of the “new
Right” organization Liberty Union, said, "In my view, the Chun Doo-hwan regime
played a role in integrating the Left and nationalists into a formidable
force. And the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun governments have played the central
role in producing a new force based on a combination of post-nationalism and
So what will it mean if the leading ideology is moving from leftwing
nationalism to rightwing post-nationalism? Where will the 386 generation of former
student democracy activists, who became the main proponents of leftwing
nationalism in politics, turn now? And will the new South Korean nationalism -- the
product of a combination of the Right and post-nationalists -- be a sort of
patriotic globalism, or will it remain mired in ultra-nationalism and a
chauvinism based on the ideas of “pure blood” the UN has recently criticized? The
struggle for the intellectual soul of South Korea is on.
(englishnews at chosun.com )
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