Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, And Legacy (Studies of the Walter H. Shorenstein A

It also looks at how the politics of national identity have played out in various contexts in Korea: Paperback , pages. Published March 22nd by Stanford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Sep 13, Billie Pritchett rated it it was amazing Shelves: Shin's central argument is that the dominant ideology in Korean politics has been, since the beginning of the 20th century, ethnic nationalism. Ethnic nationalism is the idea that the nation ought to be, or is already equivalent to, an ethnicity or race.

So what it means to be Korean is a matter of biology: The common ancestor for Korean people is supposed to have been a man named Dangun, some years ago. An aside here, but a necessary one: Ethnic nationalism is not as uncommon as you might think at first blush. Germany, Italy, and Japan have all at one time claimed ethnic nationalism.

So have the English and the Irish. And there are many more examples. Also worth considering is the issue of whether or not there is in fact a common ancestry in these cases or the Korean case. But to arrange a nation it is more or less beside the point, since even if you were somehow to show evidence for a common ancestry it does not follow that you ought to arrange your nation or civic society around that particular group.

I myself don't believe there's any evidence for racial purity and questions of common origin, even in the most mundane cases of trying to find the common origin of the human species in total, are so vague as to be meaningless, hence not worth dealing with. No 'first' homo sapien , let alone German, Italian, etc. To this latter point regarding how society ought to have organized in Korea, Shin takes a sociological approach.

Korean society on both sides of the 38th parallel did shape up in the direction of ethnic nationalism in fact.

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And Shin argues there was nothing inevitable about the process. Also in Korea at the turn of the 20th century there were all sorts of competing political ideologies which, given some changes one way or the other, could have been different. For example, there was an agrarian utopianism that dates all the way back to the late 19th century, where farmers who fought exorbitant taxes wanted to either collectivize their land or be left alone to decide what to do with surpluses communally.

There was an international socialist movement, a Japanese accommodationist movement, a cosmopolitan movement, and on and on. Shin addresses what seems like a contrary argument to his thesis. Again, to restate the thesis, it is that ethnic nationalism is the predominant political ideology in Korea. The counterargument goes that if what Shin says is true, then why do we see such radically different regimes in North and South Korea?

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Shin argues that what we have in the case of North Korea is a regime that uses anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism as a means to promote ethnic nationalism. The goal in the North is to make Korea one country again. So it is the goal in the South, only the particular expression of ethnic nationalism is different. In the South, the direction was anti-communist, pro-capitalist. But from Park Chung Hee onward there has been the promotion of the idea that strong economies and liberal democratic societies is what it takes to bring up the Korean nation, where the nation is identified as one people with a common ancestry.

None of this is to dispel the very real difference on both sides of the parallel, for instance regarding human rights, quality of life, and other political and economic conditions.

But is to say that this ethnic nationalist view is at the core of Korean public and foreign policy. Apr 22, Jim Flora rated it really liked it.

Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy

Very solid overview of Korean nationalism. The first half of the book argues that the development of a strong sense of ethnic nationalism in Korea was not inevitable, but rather a product of the historical interplay of competing ideologies pan-Asianism, International Socialism, etc. The second half looks at a number of more particular issues education, agrarianism, minjung, etc. The first half was outstanding - tight, persuasive and interesting. The second half was a bit more rambling, but a Very solid overview of Korean nationalism.

The second half was a bit more rambling, but at times quite interesting.

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A good place to start learning about Korean nationalism, though I imagine it would be easier going if you had some grounding in 20th century Korean history. Kitt rated it really liked it Aug 08, Aniko rated it liked it Jun 27, Florina Bereschi rated it liked it Oct 31, Joseph Y rated it liked it Mar 08, Rob rated it really liked it Oct 02, Eric Tsui rated it really liked it Jul 31, The trouble with this book, however, is that it is too excessive.

I mean, about a third of it could have been thrown away without losing a single bit of useful information. First of all, it is written in the best bureaucratic traditions of academia, which means that you have to read a plenty of unnecessary introductions, conclusions, lists of things that are about to be proven, lists of things that has just been proven, and stuff like that. In one culminating example, Shin links and likens the instrumental nationalist appropriation of "civilization" at the turn of the last century, of "modernization" in its middle, and of "globalization" in the s and since pp.

In his introduction, Shin presents an analytical framework that grasps ethnic nationalism as "embedded in particular social relations and history," as "contingent" on its occurrence and specific character, and as "contested" in its content and relations to other identities and ideological claims pp.

Although the blanket social and historical "embeddedness" of phenomena is a much more debatable point than usually realized, this is not on Shin's agenda, and as a result this exposition has rather the unfortunate character of boilerplate. A better vision of what is distinctive about the book comes through the recurring invocation of the Gramscian concept of a "war of position" e. Nationalism did not predominate over pan-Asianism as a Korean intellectual position before , but was thrust forward when the latter lost legitimacy with the Japanese takeover.

The possibility of common ground between some nationalists and Communists [End Page ] represented by the Sin'ganhoe was decisively broken by international Marxist equations of nationalism with fascism, pushing nationalists to greater unity; ethnicity as a point of emphasis was encouraged both by this development and by colonial assimilation policy. One of the book's signal moments of broad Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: