[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,
Aidan FC
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology &  Modern Korea, Leeds 
Home address: 17 Birklands Road,  Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3BY, UK  
tel:  +44(0)  1274  588586         (alt) +44(0) 1264 737634          mobile:  
+44(0)  7970  741307  
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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: 
_www.aidanfc.net_ (http://www.aidanfc.net/)  
[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 
the  Right."  
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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