[KS] Korean Commons?

Kent Davy kentdavy at gmail.com
Fri Aug 31 22:28:49 EDT 2012


I think the previous suggestion to consider the relevance of the
"well-field" concept to your project is well made.  To follow up on it, you
might want to consider taking a look at James Palais' treatment of Yu
Hyongwon's views on the topic in Palais' magisterial "Confucian Statecraft
ans Korean Institutions:  Yu Hyongwon and the Late Chosun Dynasty.  It
should provide you with both a good preliminary understanding of the
well-field idea and a lot to think about.  Be sure to take note, though, of
Yu's position as a radical conservative "outsider" proponent of traditional
Confucian ideas.  I'm sure you already are aware of the potential problems
of analogizing such concepts across such divergent cultures.
"The purpose of today's training is to defeat yesterday's understanding."

On Sat, Sep 1, 2012 at 9:34 AM, John Eperjesi <john.eperjesi at gmail.com>wrote:

> The commons refers to the shared communal spaces that existed in England
> before the enclosure acts that founded capitalism, and was defended in the
> "Charter of the Forests" that accompanied the Magna Carta:
> "The Charter specifically states that "Henceforth every freeman, in his
> wood or on his land that he has in the forest, may with impunity make a
> mill, fish-preserve, pond, marl-pit, ditch, or arable in cultivated land
> outside coverts, provided that no injury is thereby given to any neighbour."
> "In essence, the commons means everything that belongs to all of us, and
> the many ways we work together to use these assets to build a better
> society. This encompasses fresh air and clean water, public spaces and
> public services, the Internet and the airwaves, our legal system,
> scientific knowledge, biodiversity, language, artistic traditions, fashion
> styles, cuisines and much more. Taken together, it represents a vast
> inheritance bequeathed equally to every human—and one that, if used wisely,
> will provide for future generations."
> from: http://www.thenation.com/article/163670/struggle-commons#
> On Sat, Sep 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM, James C Schopf <jcschopf at hotmail.com>wrote:
>>  I took 'commons' to mean resources owned in common or shared among
>> community members, as in the system of feudal commons in Europe.  The Zhou
>> Dynasty well-field system designated a central plot of land in the village
>> as commons.  This system was upheld as a model by Confucian scholars like
>> Mencius, and some neo-Confucian scholars like Z*hang* Zai in the Song
>> Dynasty.  I'm not an expert in Korean neo-Confucianism, but it wouldn't
>> surprise me if some Korean neo-confucian scholars in the Chosun Dynasty
>> didn't also advocate establishment of a well field system.
>>  > Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2012 16:25:30 -0400
>> > From: gkl1 at columbia.edu
>> > To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
>> > Subject: Re: [KS] Korean Commons?
>> >
>> > Looking at my desk dictionary, "commons" appears to be a social and/or
>> > political term referring to the non-aristocratic social class and
>> > political institutions related to to it. In British public schools and
>> > colleges it is the term for what in the U.S. would be call a dining
>> > hall. I'm not sure how that would fit in with the Paektu taegan.
>> >
>> > On the other hand, a definition applying to anatomical matters for the
>> > word "common" reads as follows: "denoting a trunk from which two or
>> > more arteries, veins, or nerves are given off," as in "the common
>> > carotid arteries." THAT would appear to be an extremely apt description
>> > of the Paektu taegan. But to use that in the plural for a single
>> > organic system, might be problematic since nothing is more singular
>> > than the taegan.
>> >
>> > Gari Ledyard
>> >
>> >
>> > Quoting John Eperjesi <john.eperjesi at gmail.com>:
>> >
>> > > Hi folks,
>> > >
>> > > Is there a Korean concept that is equivalent to "commons?"
>> > >
>> > > I am interested in thinking about mountains and the Baekdu-daegan as a
>> > > commons. From the perspective of "San-shin" or Korean mountain
>> worship, it
>> > > would appear that mountains are a kind of spiritual commons.
>> > >
>> > > Would it be wrong to use the concept of the commons, which has a very
>> > > specific history in England, to read Korean practices? The struggle
>> for
>> > > the commons has become a global rhetoric that addresses many different
>> > > geographical and historical situations.
>> > >
>> > > Any help on this would be much appreciated.
>> > >
>> > > Thanks,
>> > > John
>> > >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
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