[KS] Varieties and taxonomy of evolving Korean (post-)nationalisms

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Wed Sep 5 19:01:32 EDT 2007

Yes, this is an interesting topic, and that short 
newspaper article you quote seems right on, at 
first sight:

Quote from that article:
   "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.

It is a newspaper article, after all -- and I am 
not too sure any of the mentioned scholars 
mentioned in there (some are on this list) would 
be very happy with the markers given to them. The 
terminology being used seems somewhat 
trivialized, or popularized, if you like that 
term better. "Post-nationalism" is of course 
closely related to globalization. Globalization, 
however, is in Korean newspapers, magazines, and 
the general public being used to equal something 
like "having international trade relations with 
nations around the world." It is exactly this 
trivialized version of the term that makes it so 
tremendously popular in Korea. Going from here I 
see that many of these newspaper debates that one 
way or the other relate to globalization are 
often hard to understand if these specific Korean 
definitions of such terms are not being 
considered as what they really mean. I don't 
think that "post-nationalism" in that article is 
indeed the same "post-nationalism" that Carter 
Eckert talks about in the chapter Will Pore 

"Rightwing post-nationalism" seems particular 
problematic. That quote somehow indicates that 
there is no leftwing or liberal post-nationalism, 
and that post-nationalism is a 'rightwing' 
political affair. That's where the entire 
statement stops to make sense to me, and I 
understand why you say that such articles are 
frustrating. You probably know the book _Empire_, 
a publication by Harvard U Press (2000), by 
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Negri, an 
Italian philosophy professor and former colleague 
of Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze at the Collège 
International de Philosophie in Paris, but also a 
terrorist and member of the Red Brigates who 
spent a long prison for his involvement in the 
Aldo Moro assassination, collaborted with his 
former student Michael Hardt, now teaching at 
Duke U., on redefining globalization. One of the 
main points that the authors make is that there 
is no right or left anymore. Globalization and 
post-nationalism are in Negri's and Hardt's 
analysis not right or left, and they are not 
something that create a right-wing or neoliberal 
world either. (For a good summary and longer 
review see: 
The old terms of right and left have stopped to 
apply in this new reality. It just is not very 
helpful to use these terms anymore. Such 
newspaper and magazine articles certainly show 
the amazing appetite to use hip language. I 
understand. We all wanna be hip.


Frank Hoffmann
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