Cho Haejoang on Sat, 27 Feb 1999 21:34:56 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> "You Exist Within an Imaginary Well"

     [forwarded via 'next 5 minutes 3,' via geert lovink,
      via ted byfield. this is a minimally edited and un-
      approved version, and unfortunately in this process
      lost a note (14) in the text. cheers, tb]

 CHO Haejoang
 Cultural Anthropologist
 Professor, Department of Sociology, Yonsei University

Draft of a paper presented at Inter-asia Cultural Studies
Conference "Problematizing Asia," Center for
Asia-Pacific/Cultural Studies, National Tsing Hua University,
July 13-16, 1988. Taipei, Taiwan.

The Formation of Subjectivity within Uneven Development
"You Exist Within an Imaginary Well"[1]

CHO Haejoang <>
Cultural Anthropologist
Professor, Department of Sociology, Yonsei University

NOTE: This text was written for a symposium organized by the
Graduate Student Association at Yonsei University and was
originally meant only for a local audience. This text was written
in anger and frustration at the silence of intellectuals in the
'IMF crisis.' Rereading it, I was somewhat embarrassed by its
repetitive and exaggerated expressions. Occasionally, there were
sentences that were full of the spirit of the enlightenment and
others that even sounded nationalistic. It has been translated
without any major changes, however, partly because I was too busy
to do so. Besides, I did not see the point of rewriting it for an
English-speaking audience. In this world of "glocalization," it
is crucial for the English-speaking population to read "locally
produced texts" and train themselves to do it with sensitivity. I
am grateful to Michael Shin for his translation of this text.


"Thinking in terms of dichotomies
and obsessed by a sense of victimization.
Enjoying a mood of tragedy
Drawn somehow to conspiracy theories.
Distrusting local discussions 
believing that macro-theories will explain all.
These are the obstacles 
that the intellectuals of this land have to overcome."

One day in November 1997, South Koreans suddenly heard the news
that their country needed a financial bailout by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). Up until the mid-1990s, South
Korea's politicians, businessmen, and the people themselves were
all in high spirits. Claiming that they had pioneered a new model
of high-growth economic development, South Korea enjoyed its
status as one of the "four dragons" of East Asia. There were many
foreign students who came to study about the South Korean
"economic miracle," and there were even scholarly discussions of
the success of "Confucian capitalism" that rivaled the
"Protestant capitalism" of the West. Then came the news that
South Korea was deeply in debt and needed a financial bailout.

As the extent of the economic crisis became clear, the various
responses that have emerged have provided an opportunity to
examine South Korea's ability to handle a crisis. At first, the
IMF was viewed as a stand-in for the superpowers. Seeing that the
IMF was trying to establish a "trusteeship" over South Korea,
many talked about the crisis as a national disgrace. As people
were increasingly overtaken by panic, the opinion that South
Korea should accept reality and introduce free-market principles
began to prevail. The powerful chaebol (conglomerates; in
Japanese, zaibatsu) were the first target of such criticism.
People felt that state corruption and the chaebol's monopolistic
position were the cause of the economic crisis, and that the
inflexibility of the labor market made it worse. Accordingly,
everyone generally shared the opinion that it was necessary to
promote "transparency" and "fairness" since South Korea had to
open its markets and increase its competitiveness. However,
implementing solutions would not be so easy because the economic
growth of the past decades had left the people extremely
exhausted, both physically and mentally.

The potential for a crisis had existed from the time the South
Korean economy became incorporated into the world order dominated
by transnational capital. Recognizing this fact will be helpful
in organizing one's thoughts on the crisis. It would be a grave
mistake to look at only domestic factors and consider South
Korea's situation to be unique. If there exist incentives to
increase one's income, the people of any nation--where popular
education is achieved to a certain degree and where Hollywood
movies have been successful in spreading dreams of a happy
middle-class life--would work and make sacrifices, especially if
they were hungry and frustrated. Once people who are trying to
escape from poverty begin to earn money, regardless of cultural
differences, they gain confidence that they can succeed, and
their efforts enable the nation's economy to take off.[2]
Transnational financial capital flowed into South Korea when its
"hungry" people were willing to sacrifice to rise out of poverty.
But now that there is no longer any "hungry" labor, capital had
left this country and moved to places where wages are cheaper.
Before the crisis, people had believed in the benefits of
capital, had been engrossed in improving economic statistics, and
had believed in the "myth of success," but now they are dazed and

The current crisis is certainly the responsibility of the
domestic "players" who were the leaders of South Korea's economic
development, but it is impossible to understand the current
situation without knowledge of how the "rules of the game" are
determined. I agree with scholars who have argued that an
explanation for South Korea's economic growth should be sought
primarily in the favorable external conditions of the past 30
years (Cho Hui-yon 1998, Kim Ho-ki 1998). It should be placed in
the context of capitalist development in the East Asian region;
in particular, South Korea should be examined as an example of an
exportist regime of accumulation, a Listian warfare state, and an
authoritarian developmental mobilization structure. Simply put,
conditions were favorable for rapid economic development in South
Korea because of the fluidity of world capital at the time, the
cold war political situation in which the U.S. was actively
supporting capitalist economies, and its ability to follow the
Japanese model of export-led industrialization.

In order to understand the dimensions of the crisis, it is
necessary to avoid limiting the unit of analysis to a society
within a nation and thus overemphasizing its negative aspects. It
is also necessary to avoid falling into conspiracy
theories--especially at a time when so many people feel
victimized. If such pitfalls can be avoided, there can be a
fruitful discussion on modernization and the crisis. During the
past few decades, South Koreans have not been able to create a
way of life or rational labor system that is compatible with the
economic changes they have experienced. Consequently, a society
has been created that is obsessed with "miraculous statistics,"
and the realm of daily life has been severely deformed. People
were pushed and shoved in the rush to colonial modernization to
the point that it was difficult to create a space for critical
reflection and innovation.

The current crisis was predictable, and so was "our" passionate
reaction to save "our nation." What is worrisome is the fact that
in increasing numbers, the younger generation feels that "it is
better to die than to be stuck in a situation of conflict." I
despair that the South Korean people have not been able to find a
way to move beyond the dichotomy of a passionately defensive
nationalism and passionless market principles. But, at the same
time, as a cultural anthropologist, I cannot conceal my
excitement at how the IMF crisis has brought about an
unprecedented opportunity to do "native anthropology" on South
Korean society. The work of intellectuals continues to be a
delicate balancing act, in between hope and despair, on the
borders of transformation.

As the current crisis led me to think about the history of the
world system, I began to reflect on the social impact of the
"compressed growth" of late-industrializing states, and such
reflection led me to think about compressed time, the lack of
databases and specialists, and the absence of a "language" to
discuss the quotidian world. In this article, my focus is on
modernity and the formation of subjectivity. The starting point
of discussion should be the fact that South Korea's "abnormal"
modernization has produced extreme social unevenness and

1.  Seeing "My Society" through the IMF Crisis: a history of
compressed growth and Turbo Capitalism

"When the door finally opened, 
I was not ready to leave."
    --Posted on Chollian,[3] 3 February 19

The book The Global Trap, which is virtually required reading for
all "thinking people" in South Korea these days, introduced the
term "turbo capitalism." It refers to how capitalism can develop
without fetters and with even greater speed after the fall of the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.[4] The authors
of the book, Martin and Schumann (1997), emphasized that before a
new order can develop, "turbo capitalism" destroys a society's
basis for survival by undermining its traditional order. As they
noted, by pursuing turbo capitalism in an attempt to avoid
economic stagnation, many Western countries are destroying the
stability of social life that had been maintained up to that
time. In addition to this book, there have recently been many
other books that argue that a market-driven age of capitalism
will cause humanity to suffer a tragic fate by its relentless
undermining of the basis of society's existence.[5]

South Korean society probably represents a typical case of
economic development through "turbo capitalism." Until the 1980s,
the state ignored all the demands of various social groups,
saying that they should wait until the problems of basic survival
are solved. When South Koreans celebrated the fact that they were
to hold the 1988 Olympics, issues of basic survival were somewhat
less pressing. They were then able to turn its attention to other
areas such as democratization or quality of life. Many people
feel that this goal would have been achieved if the Olympics had
been held four years later, if South Korea had joined the OECD a
little later, or if the IMF bailout had come just five years
later. However, the truth is that despite its economic
development, South Korea has been culturally destitute. Until per
capita income reached ten thousand dollars, society operated
under the principle that it was necessary to "compete by cutting
costs," and if wealth did accumulate, it was "squandered" on
"imperialist imitation." National leaders were so anxious to join
the ranks of the developed nations. People always had something
to catch up to.

I recently had a conversation with architect Kim Jin-ae, who
mentioned that a British architect who had worked a long time in
Japan said that a building that took a year to build in England
would take only six months in Japan. She added that the same
house would probably take only three months to be built in South
Korea. Where does that speed and mobility come from? What price
had to be paid to make it possible? Although there may be points
that are difficult to accept, I will attempt below to give a
brief synopsis of South Korea's development/underdevelopment
during the past thirty years.

Starting from a state of "lack," modern South Korea has been more
and more easily caught up in the movements of capital which it
was powerless to control from the very beginning, and this
malleability has been the strength of South Korean capitalism.
Turbo capitalism has wreaked destruction in South Korea, leaving
it with shoddy and unsafe buildings, superficial and conventional
cultures, and, at the level of the individual, an unfounded
optimism and a surprising ability to adapt. Right now, South
Koreans seem to be divided into two groups: on the one hand, a
group of kukmin[6] who stubbornly believe that the IMF will be
driven out in three years and, on the other, a group of powerless
"non-kukmin" who wonder how they will survive and pass the time
until they die. Lacking a mechanism for overall societal
coordination, "compressed growth" has brought about problems of
"unreliable construction" and has created a sense of futility
that nothing can be achieved no matter how hard one works.

Although society lacks an overall coordinating mechanism, that
does not mean that there is no underlying "system." The driving
force of South Korea's turbo capitalism has been anxiety over
survival, and its response was the building of "food chains." The
term "food chain" refers to a phenomenon which is often called
"crony capitalism" by scholars. "Homo economicus" has been the
dominant personality of South Korea, a person who secures food,
shelter, and wealth by building and managing "food chains." South
Korean society has been structured around such chains and
networks; it is centered on large-scale "private profit
associations" that are very different in nature from modern,
rational organizations with a long-term perspective of collective
life. Formed in a time of quasi-war mobilization, "private profit
associations" operate according to "well-known secrets" which are
necessary to make dirty, backroom deals. People who are not aware
of the "well-known secret" and cannot join a "food chain" become
marginalized. Power and opportunities in society are determined
according to one's position within quasi-personal networks
disguised under the public ethic of inji sangjong
(inter-subjective human emotions).

Let me delve further into this history. During the colonial
period and the Korean War, a societal system was created in which
the people were essentially reduced to the state of refugees.
Many people were just concerned with their day-to-day existence.
This system became strengthened, not weakened, when South Korea
needed to "catch up" and pursue high-speed growth. Theoretically
speaking, modern society is based on the principle that an
individual can enjoy freedom as long as he or she does not
infringe on the freedom of others. In a society built upon
networks of "food chains," the prevalent attitude is more one of
intimidation: "Why are you bothering me when I'm just trying to
get ahead?" South Koreans constantly talk about grand founding
moral principles and logically consistent social theories, but
people's actual language descends to the level of crude comfort,
sentimentalism, or direct intimidation. This duality is not the
result of a failure of implementation; rather, it is the very
basis which enables "private profit associations" to function
properly. Reformers have easily failed when they did not take
this system into account. This is also the reason that many
reforms by politicians and the government were, from the
beginning, intended only to soothe popular discontent --like
"giving a bottle to a crying baby" as a Seoul Taxi driver once
bluntly expressed. Recently, a performance-based salary scale was
introduced as part of the "structural reform" of the current
inefficient system. However, things reverted back to the same old
system, only paying lip service to the "South Korean style"
performance-based system. The reason is that up to now, rather
than creating a proper evaluation system for employees'
performance in order to "make a larger pie," organizations have
built and maintained a system where people were busy only in
"dividing the pie" among themselves.

My point is that the compressed time period of development and
the intensity of that experience had a tremendously destructive
effect on society. Social scientists who are already familiar
with the concepts of modernity and compressed temporality have
noted that "from the outset, modernity contained within itself
the tragedy caused by compressed temporality" while wanting to
resist it.[7] However, because of the unevenness and compressed
time of South Korea's economic growth, there is a great
difference between the experiences of "us" and "them" who pursued
endogenous capitalist development.[8] In this sense, it is
meaningless for the First World and the Third World to sit at the
same negotiating table if the effects of such temporal
compression are not fully understood. It will be difficult to
talk about a global civil society without an understanding of the
"colonization of the image" and of the severe obliteration of
subjectivity (Jan Nederveen Pieterse and Bhikhu Parekh 1997: ix).
There needs to be an analysis of why there are so many people in
the Third World that are suffering from relative deprivation, why
extremely conventional TV dramas on issues like the nation, the
family, and status reproduction are so popular, and why civil
movements can do no more than just run in place. Such phenomena
are closely related to the fact that modernization has been
pursued within an extremely "compressed" period of time, leaving
little time for reflection and system building.

Many social problems have arisen because society was not prepared
for certain reforms or policies. Let me give some examples.
Despite various difficulties, South Korea decided to implement
reforms to increase autonomy in local administration.
Unfortunately, it coincided with the time that construction
brokers from other regions made tremendous profits during the
recent construction boom and emerged as a new power elite group
in the localities. The result is that rather than working for the
future of local areas, the local autonomy system serves the
interests of ruthlessly profit driven individuals. The national
policy for the information age that was pursued with such grand
ambitions by the Kim Young Sam government is another example.
Under the slogan "Behind in manufacturing, but a leader in
information," the government distributed expensive computers to
middle and high schools. However, what was distributed was the
hardwares without proper softwares or man- power who could
properly utilize the hardware. Moreover, because of the high
pressure of "college entrance examination hell," middle and high
school students do not have the time to use these computers.[9]
What students in this "war" badly need is quick way to relieve
stress. Supplied by the government or often bought by parents who
feel that computers are necessary for their children's education,
computers are mainly used for playing games and enjoying
worldwide pornography if not deserted in the storage rooms.

And what about the women's movement? As the anti-dictatorship
social movements of the 1980s began to decline, feminists who
have not been able to establish their own voice within the major
movement circle felt that their time came. They were excited to
organize "revolutionary energy" that remained of the movement.
However, consumer capitalism, which arrived too rapidly as a
result of "compressed" growth, has drawn a new generation of
women into fashion shows, department stores and fancy cafes. The
feminist movement ended up losing the opportunity to advance into
the next stage. Much energy was wasted because of such
out-of-synch timing, and as a result, the unevenness of society
became more severe.

What worries me most is that compression and unevenness has
brought about the destruction of the quotidian. When my students
say that it is better to die than to be trapped in a situation of
conflict or that they are too exhausted to think, they are
demonstrating that the capacity for mutual understanding has
collapsed. South Korea has become a society where intentional
acts only bring about unintended consequences and where it is
difficult to pursue what one wants to do. Living in such a
society, people become powerless and lose sense of how to talk
about their discomfort or frustrations in order to improve their
lives. Although much "hardware" has been imported from other
countries, there is few "software" that can ease the
inconveniences in their lives. If no one wants to make anything
oneself, there is no software, and if no one thinks of creating
software, there is no need to make databases. The seriousness of
problem comes from the fact that many people have given up on
creating software. Up to now, production in South Korea has
followed the path of "colonial" modernization, using software
copied from other countries. As a result, hardware becomes
nothing more than an expensive piece of useless furniture, and it
is impossible to accumulate information and knowledge.

As I mentioned above, the distinguishing characteristic of South
Korean development has been "compressed growth through
imitation." Since there were model societies that had already
developed to an advanced stage, it was only necessary to set a
plan for development and urge people to work harder and faster
without any reflection. Since it was unnecessary to have even a
rough blueprint for the future, South Korea's intellectuals just
learned to mimic grand-sounding theories from the developed
countries, and workers on production lines only had to imitate
without thinking. Theoretical terminology became used to disguise
reality, and harsh working conditions undermined the sphere of
thought and reflection. Because the ultimate goal of development
was already decided upon, skepticism and doubt were considered to
be subversive. All that had to be done was rapid and unthinking
imitation. This tendency has been further reinforced by the
Cold-war system. The Cold-war era had forced Koreans to think in
terms of extreme dichotomy of "friends and enemies." The
intermediate or alternative space was hardly to be created.

A busy lifestyle in itself undermines people's capacity for
thinking. The busier people are, the more convenient it is to
think in terms of dichotomies. Men and women, adults and
children, our people and your people, my alumni and those who
went to other schools, my family and non-relatives, those who
took piano lessons as a child and those who did not--by
categorizing everyone into two groups, many things can be handled
automatically. Many people feel that in a busy life, it is not
necessary to waste any time on serious thinking. All that needs
to be done is to determine who one will make a chain with. In a
busy world where the ultimate objective is clear and there is a
"Big Brother" who decides the direction of society, all that is
needed is strategic thinking.

So far, I have tried to emphasize that "compressed rush-to
development" creates a feeling of powerlessness. It draws people
into a dichotomies logic and deprives them of the capacity for
self-reflection. The overwhelming speed and out- of- synch timing
weakens the ability and will for mutual understanding by
instrumentalizing others. However, I believe, and I hope, that in
the current crisis, many residents in South Korea begin to feel
that it is now necessary to rectify the unevenness of development
and to create a new, balanced society. They start to discuss that
it is necessary to have the insight to map out the future
direction of society, to be able to analyze and interpret drastic
changes, and to try to attain a minimum of commonality to narrow
the distances that exist among people. This is an essay by a
student of mine who reflects on her life in the economic crisis.

"One day on a radio talk show, I happened to hear that at an
international conference, South Korean development model
characterized by the miraculous economic growth and an entrenched
system of corruption was brought up as an main issue. Despite the
peculiar collusion of the government and the industry and the
irrationality of its bureaucratic culture, South Korean economy
was consistently showing high growth rates. Some of the
participant even seemed to propose that the corruption system
itself functioned as a positive variant for the economic
development. The Korean case seems to be discussed as a counter
example of the established theoretical theorems.

Hearing the discussion on the bus, watching the scenery through
the window, I was murmuring to myself that it would not end up in
such an optimistic and happy way. It was before the IMF crisis. I
was already sensing something that the world has become more
difficult to live in.

In this sudden economic crisis, I rather feel easy. It seems that
we have finally came to see the world through the right
perspective. The pictorial history books of my primary school
years always finished with the national flag surrounded by
balloons and a picture of lots of smiling people with the rising
sun in the background. We will now have to forgo our habit of
vaguely drawing the future of Korea with these sort of images.

Whenever I began to talk about myself, there were always more
important, more urgent problems to solve to shut my mouth. For
tomorrow, the me of today had to be subdued. And when tomorrow
arrived, that tomorrow had to disappear to make way for the next
day to come. In the end there was no happy me of today. I was
just kept being pushed toward tomorrow. Now I find myself at the
cliff. I am rather comfortable now to happen to know that the
final happy days would not come.

I want to now get out of the car that I have been forced to ride
in. I want to examine the car from a distance and to check my map
and compass to reassure the direction. If I could, I would like
to make some cushions for the seats for me and the others to have
more comfortable journey. Though the place I'm heading toward may
not be a rose coloured dream land, I would rather like to know
where I am going before I take the journey. (Chon Hye-jin)

It is comforting to know that the students like Hye-jin begin to
reflect upon the modernity of their own society. What can be done
to end the vicious circle created by rapid growth and uneven
development? What interventions are possible in order to break
down the refugee-like "private profit network" and to build the
fairer public infrastructure? South Korean society is not
entering a postmodern age; it is at a stage of searching
alternative modernity. Creating alternative modernity seems
urgent task, which can be made possible through fractal and
"postmodern" ways of thinking. I will examine the possibilities
of such transformation by focusing on the formation of
subjectivity in South Korea's modern history.

2.  "Nation" and "Family": the history of the production of "modern

Things in paintings seem to be actual,
but they are not real.
They resemble each other,
but they are different.
People seem to be free,
but they just move according to the laws around them.[10]

"United we survive, divided we die"--This slogan, that was
probably invented during the nationalist resistance movement
against the Japanese rule, expresses also the mindset of
compressed colonial growth through effective mass mobilization.
In this section, I will try to examine in detail the hegemonic
power that are associated with the notions of the "kukmin, the
national person" and "kajok, family," two words that most vividly
evoke such mobilization. These words are the two main signifier
that have exerted the most power in the constitution of modern
life in South Korea. In a sense, the South Korean society was
able to achieve miraculous economic growth in such a short period
of time since it succeeded in producing 'kukmin.' It means that
this success was possible by eliminating the space for civil
society. As expressed in the quote above by an art critic, people
appear to be free but in reality move according to rules to be
nothing but nationalistic state subjects. The period of
compressed growth produced a society with only grand state power
and patriarchal families, but no citizens or autonomous
individuals. Of course it worked the other around that the
national persons made the compressed development possible.

In the process, people became highly instrumentalized. The social
system worked efficiently to replicate the same, putting people
in a state of undifferentiation. When a society is faced with a
situation of total crisis, structural adjustment is unavoidable.
I feel that the structural change necessary at present can be
carried out effectively only through an effort to liberate the
various subjectivities that have been completely suppressed by
the signifier of "kukmin" and the "family."

2-1. There is no civil society, only kukmin

When President Kim Dae Jung left to attend the ASEM meeting this
past spring, he was reportedly asked the following question in an
interview with a reporter from the British newspaper, The Times.
(Hangyoreh sinmun, April 2)

"South Koreans are known to be a proud people. What do they think
about foreign investors?"

"They have a negative opinion of them. They think that foreign
investment will turn South Korea into a colony. In "townhall"
televised meetings with kukmin, I have tried to persuade them
that money has no nationality and that the important issue is
which country it is [they] invested in. If we are to succeed, we
need to earn foreign currency by increasing exports, but, at the
same time, we must also have significant investment from foreign
companies. Recently, our people have begun to learn this. They
are changing a lot."

In this interview, while acknowledging that the irrational
group-centeredness of South Koreans is a problem, President Kim
urged foreign investors to wait since the problem of patriotism
of South Koreans was being taken care of. If the president's
intention implied in such statements become widely known, many of
the South Korean kukmin would probably feel betrayed by him. The
responses to the crisis have not gone much beyond the bounds of
nationalism. For example, people have continued to assert that
"patriotism kept us in the black" even in the face of economic
bankruptcy. They feel that tightening one's belt, the campaign
for collection of gold, promotion of purchasing only native
products, increased money wires from overseas South Koreans, and
reducing overseas travel will all help to avoid the crisis.[11]
The foreign press has noted that south Korea's greatest strength
is the patriotism of its people and praise South Korea's
nationalistic character. Of course, it is important to take into
account the standpoint and intentions of the Westerners who write
such editorials. It is probable that they are right-wing
nationalists and that they are praising South Korea's patriotism
in order to advance their own country's socio-economic policies
to their own interest.

In reality, the gold collection movement and displays of the
national flag are just more than nationalistic displays. They
were spectacles that are produced in times of crisis. Such
spectacles are organized and staged by groups of patriotic kukmin
who feel obliged to do something instantaneously to respond to
the crisis. For example, some of "patriotic" school masters and
teachers in elementary schools told their students to bring in
their family's receipts for the gold they contributed to the
"gold collection" movement. Other serious school principals might
suggest at morning assembly that students attach the national
flag to their knapsacks, middle and high school students thought
that it was amusing, and it became trendy among them to put the
national flag on their knapsacks.

In this way, young people became mobilized into displays of
patriotic fervor in a society of the spectacle. Gift stores that
target these students put away the flags of the world that they
had stocked up when the talks of "globalization" were picking up
and replaced them with the national flag; shopkeepers were able
to become "happy and good" kukmin who both made money and
celebrated their patriotism. In public arenas, there are still
many "patriots"--to the point that KBS announced in their evening
news hour, that seeing the movie "Titanic" would cost more in
foreign currency than could be raised through the "gold
collection" campaign. Just as people who went to see "Titanic"
were treated as criminals, South Korean society is pervaded with
an atmosphere of terror in which it is not permissible to say
anything that violates the sanctity of the "nation." Trained to
be 'together' in times of crisis, kukmin felt proud to be doing
their part to overcome the crisis by participating in the
movement of "saving the nation.". The mass media has been always
the forefront of promoting a "nationwide" donation movement. The
masses who had participated in such rituals took comfort from the
demonstrated wholesomeness of the kukmin through their virtually
complete participation in such movements.

What I have been interested in here is the people's automatic,
Pavlovian reactions to catch phrases such as "the nation" and
"unity," which led me to analyze the roots of nationalist
discourse. Nationalist discourse in South Korea is historically
connected to the national liberation movements of the colonial
period. Rather than seeing it as a mere continuation from the
colonial period, however, I regard today's nationalism as more of
a reproduction that has emerged in a time of rapid socio-economic
transformation. Today's national discourse was newly constructed
during the period of nation-building after liberation. Initially,
its discursive power came from the requirements of national
security and anti-communism. After the 1970s, the discourse of
nationalism was directly connected with economy-first policies
that sought to be a powerful nation. When South Korea held the
Olympics in 1988 and later joined the OECD, the mood became one
of celebration of finally being included in the circle of the
powerful. In the history of a world divided into developed and
underdeveloped nations, South Korean kukmin's pride has been
severely hurt as members of an underdeveloped country. They could
not miss the opportunity to join the ranks of the developed
countries. This is the very reason that even the left-wing
intellectuals who had been active in the minjung(people's
democratic) movement in the 1980s did not really oppose the
market-first policies. Elites regardless of their ideological
positions after all share the ultimate goal of making the
powerful nation. In a sense, nationalism and modernity, for the
most part, evolved together as two sides of the same coin.

Let me be more concrete about the process of making modern kukmin
in South Korean history. The period right after liberation,
anti-Japanese sentiment was an effective mechanism to provide
unity for the state. President Lee Syngman had most successfully
mobilized the sentiment. When the division of the country became
established, the pro Americanism was added to it. When the
president Park's regime normalized relations with Japan for the
sake of economic cooperation in the 1960's, the state was
successful in unifying the people through anti-communism rather
than anti-Japanese sentiment. During the period of economic
growth, the state was successful in mobilizing the people under
slogans such as "developing the fatherland." Strictly speaking,
South Korean nationalism was an exclusionist nationalism of
resistance during the colonial period. After the liberation, it
became combined with the imperatives of the state and served as
the ideology for the production of kukmin which enabled hyper
effective state mobilization. In a word, South Korean nationalism
developed in conjunction and disjunction with anti-Japanese
colonialism, anti-communism, pro-Americanism and now imperialism
of itself. Under the threat of communism, and through the goal of
joining the ranks of the developed countries, the developmental
authoritarian state was able to mobilize the people very
effectively. The state was hardly concerned with the welfare of
people or with anti-fascist democracy.

In the official discourse, the nation, the state and the people
are one and the same. South Korean society was extremely
successful in manufacturing a "majority" consisting of middle
class, middle-aged male members of society. Until recently, the
mass media frequently used expressions such as kukminjok chongso
("popular sentiment" or "national sentiment") which functioned to
block the emergence of alternative opinions and the imagination,
and these incantatory phrases contributed to producing the
uniform subjectivity of the "kukmin." The phrase wihwagam chosong
("promoting discord") has also played an important role in
suppressing the emergence of variation. A president of a computer
company has noted that the emphasis on "becoming one" has not
only repressed the people's freedom, but also obstructed economic
development. He reminisced that although South Korea had
developed its own color television, the government initially did
not permit its production for the reason that it would "promote

In a modern society, unity can become possible only through the
institutionalization of diversity; thus, the effort of the South
Korean state to create unity through the reproduction of the same
is clearly counter to the goal of building a modern state. The
reason that the far-right conservatives gain influence every time
there is a crisis may not be because such groups have latent
sources of power but rather because there are no alternative
power groups or a radically new language to oppose them.
Modernization through popular mobilization not only reduced the
realm of daily life, but also produced a totalitarian culture in
which people were trained through discipline and surveillance,
leaving no room for the emergence of civil society. It is a
society in which it is dangerous for an individual to think or
act from a different subject positions other than that of one's
national or familial identity.

Having lived in a such a uniform and totalitarian culture, kukmin
have for some time now "voluntarily" participated in reproducing
their own alienation as they have become unable to create their
own identities. For example, people read a comment by a Japanese
tourist that the South Korean people are an admirable people
because they give up their seats on the bus to the elderly; then
they began to assert their identity as a South Korean by
diligently yielding their seats. What they are doing is
participating in the process of producing "admirable kukmin" of
the Republic of Korea. If someone on the street asks, "What is
unique about Koreans?" the image of Koreans yielding their seats
on a bus would automatically come to their mind.

I am not denying that differentiated subjects do exist. However,
such differentiation has not been able to establish and express
itself within the realm of culture. Rapid economic growth and the
myth that it will continue has not allowed these subjects to
assert a "difference," and the mass media which has been a great
promoter of the slogan "united we survive" has not had the
ability to encompass such changes. Some managers of the mass
media have still sought to unite the differentiated people into
"one grand mass" using phrases such as "national sentiment," and
"wihwagam chosong."

How much longer can South Korea continue to reproduce such a
kukmin? A student who went to the South Korea-Japan soccer match
this spring told me about a scene which tells something about the
prospective change. The passionate soccer fans known as the "Red
Devils" were cheering together with the "Ultra Nippon" squad from
Japan, creating a very amicable atmosphere in the stadium. The
people who were taunting the Japanese fans were other spectators,
not the "Red Devils." The student said that they seemed like
people who have not been able to find a purpose to their lives.
Maybe they are people who become energized only when they have an
enemy, an object of hatred and when they can truly devote
themselves to the "imagined community" of the nation. There
definitely are kukmin who are moved by phrases such as "Let's
beat Japan," "Win or Die," "Save Our Country," and "Korean
residents in Japan, Don't Give Up!" Their own personal dreams
become united with the ambition of the nation to become a
powerful country, and they desire a clear hierarchical order and
achievements measurable in terms of strength and numbers. They
are captivated by the beauty of unity, suffer from relative
deprivation, and are accustomed to thinking in terms of the
dichotomy of "center" and "periphery." They want to overcome
their inferiority complex by becoming a citizen of a powerful
country, so they turn all athletic contests into a matter of ego
and pride. The miraculous strength to defeat Japan is just one
storyline within an ongoing drama about the preservation of
national pride. Clearly, the word "nation" still has the power to
mobilize certain population in South Korea.

At the same time, however, there are more and more people who no
longer want to participate in such patriot games. Because of the
current crisis, the number of people who are becoming skeptical
about the meaning of kukmin are increasing. The following is an
excerpt from a report submitted for my class on "Culture and
Humanity" by Yi Chong'un, an undergraduate at Yonsei University:

"When the "gold collection" movement caused such a big commotion,
I felt uneasy for some reason. I am not sure what it was, but I
was overrun by some bad feeling. Recently, that feeling became
uncontrollable when there was that absurd controversy about the
movie "Titanic." Even if it was true [that actor Leonardo
DiCaprio said negative things about South Korea], how should we
(I) react to the deceptive oppression that appears when such
statements become circulated in society?...People who do not see
"Titanic" will feel an awkward patriotism that they did something
good for the nation, and those who do will feel guilty. What can
we do in a situation where cultural taste is determined by the
demands of patriotism and where people are "voluntarily" falling
into such a trap?...People should not get caught up in the
incitement of a deceptive patriotism even for the sake of saving
the country. Of course, I know that it is impossible to live in
society purely as an individual, but at the very least, I do not
want everything to be determined by the pressure of majority
opinion. This society tries to suppress and deny the freedom of
watching a movie; this society makes me sick....A little while
ago, I saw a message posted on the internet. Someone claimed that
the meaning of "EASTPAK," the name of the brand of knapsacks, is
"eliminate the east." The person also expressed a desire for
revenge, saying that "we need to make a WESTPAK." [When I saw it]
I sighed and became frightened. How is such an abnormal
patriotism created and maintained? How far can this go? There may
be people who are moved by the words, "South Koreans unite in
times of difficulty," but these words sound scary to me. To me,
such fabricated words are no more than wordplay, a deceit."

I can see individuals holding their breath under the shadows of
rapid growth and the shadows of the singular subject, kukmin. I
can see the emergence of reflexive "non-kukmin" who wonder if
they can trust any longer a state that insisted that there was no
crisis up until the IMF announced its bailout despite the fact
that south Korea's financial bankruptcy was becoming evident. Now
it seems that the production of kukmin and the constitution of a
single subjectivity can no longer be maintained either through
outside pressure or through internal divisions. The remaining
task is how to deconstruct the kukmin and to accept and organized
the internal differences.

Some time a ago, I heard from a specialist on the labor movement
that negotiation and compromise between classes will not be
possible until consensus based on negotiation within a class is
possible. The specialist noted that South Korea has experienced
difficulty in establishing an effective procedures for
negotiation since negotiation within a class itself is hard to
achieve. Workers can form a single group for a short period of
time, but in reality, they are still divided by their private
interest. Because agreement through negotiation has never been
achieved within a class or even within each occupational group,
it will be difficult to achieve any kind of grand agreement. A
grand compromise and agreement is possible only when differences
can be expressed fully and decentralization and flexibility are
deemed valuable. South Koreans urgently need to acknowledge the
existence of social differentiation and to learn to construct
alternative flexible subjectivities that will enable them to
coexist with various "others."

2-2. There are no individuals, only families

With the outbreak of the IMF crisis, one of the most urgent
voices has been the cries of "Save the family!" The family has
been the other sacred entity associated with the dreams of
"becoming a powerful nation." Just as modernization has
mass-produced kukmin who had absolute faith in the notion of an
"eternal nation," it has also mass-produced patriarchs who had
strong belief in the notion of an eternal family

The current movements to "encourage men" and to "support and
cheer up our fathers" who are depressed by the IMF crisis were
actively led by the mass media. Worried that the unemployment of
fathers will bring about the disintegration of the family, the
mass media once again has been urging people to unite. While the
mass media has been telling people to support the patriarch, it
does not hesitate in blaming women for ruining the country by
their ignorance and over-consumption. Governmental support to
unemployed workers is also granted to male workers first.
"Fundamental restructuring" based on performance have been
stalled because of the ideology of the family and the family wage
system which gives unconditional support to fathers as household
providers. These various measures show clearly who are the core
of kukmin. Men are considered to be the kukmin that should be
protected first while women, the marginalized kukmin who are the
first to be laid off.

The movements to "save the head of the family" are further proof
of the fact that fathers have been reduced to being money-making
machines during the period of compressed economic growth. The
economic crisis has begun to undermine the patriarch's role as
family provider. The movement to "save the patriarch" has arisen
>from the fear that the whole family structure centering on the
male head will fall apart. The family, extremely
instrumentalized, is in grave danger. Why fathers are now
abandoning their families and committing suicide" Is it just
because they lost their jobs? The family is supposed to be a
shelter from an inhuman world of competition.

The fact that the family itself is disintegrating because the
patriarch, the pillar of the household, is laid off suggests that
the family was already in a state of disintegration before the
crisis began. Many fathers have no role other than to earn their
family's living expenses, and many fathers have failed to perform
their roles as a member of the family, particularly in making
intimate relationships. During the period of compressed economic
growth, many men did receive respect as money providers, but at
the same time, the father has become the most instrumentalized
and isolated member of the family.

In an article, I have written about how South Korea's
modernization created modern gendered spaces: "a public sphere
where men dominate and a family sphere where women dominate." I
have also tried to show how there is an unseen war going on
between men and women in those two spaces.[12] There is a
significant difference between men and women in their views of
the family. For men, the family is an extended family based on
blood relations transmitted through the paternal line. However,
for women, the family includes the family she was born into and
her children, her "uterine family." The patriarch's conception of
the family has generally been the official one. The official
version of the family has very much been a part of the ideology
that has disguised reality.

When capitalist development reaches an advanced stage, the modern
family naturally breaks down and the gendered roles have been
redefined. As television and video invade the living room and as
telephones and beepers connect the family with the outside world,
change becomes unavoidable. Schools, the mass media, and
consumerism have easily undermined the authority of parents, and
it has become harder and harder to maintain closeness and
dialogue among members of the family. The collision of the
ideology and the reality is inevitable in South Korea as the
society underwent drastic modernization process. However, the
state still have a tight grip on the family life.

The educational system in South Korea is a good example to
demonstrate the extent of the state's intervention in the family.
Centered on preparing students for the college entrance exam, the
educational system has enabled an effective mobilization of the
kukmin. The school has functioned as the place where people get
the training necessary to contribute to the nation's export-led,
compressed growth. In this process, rather than being a space of
care and affection, the home has been turned into training ground
for the battlefield of the college entrance exam. The mother-son
relationship has changed to that of player and coach. Worried
that their children might not be able to go to college, parents
have willingly participated in the "instrumentalization" of their
children. Children had to become "warriors" who fought for the
sake of their "private profit network" and for the reproduction
of their family's social status. In return for becoming a
warrior, children gained the right to become a consumer who could
use the money earned and saved by their parents. As consumers,
children came to judge their parents according to their ability
to provide materials, and parents even judged themselves
according to their ability to provide tutoring fees and to
satisfy the material wants of their children. While the cultural
role of parents became severely reduced in the process of
compressed change, it was accompanied by a proportionate growth
in their role as material providers.

When the reality of the family grows distant from its ideal,
there are two possible reactions: people can either modify their
conception of an ideal family, or they can cling even more to the
ideal. The latter is the response of a society that has the
ability to manage a crisis, and the former is the response of one
that does not. What about the case of South Korea? What doesn't
the power elites or mass media say anything about the
"resturucturing of the family"?

A little while ago, when I went to the dong office, the female
employee who worked gently and efficiently disappeared. In her
place was a "patriarch" who was slow and lazy in doing his job,
chatting with his neighboring officer. There are significant
numbers of women who have to join the workforce in order to
provide for their families because their husbands were laid off.
However, it is difficult to find any mention of women in such a
condition; the only thing that is emphasized are the efforts to
find ways to keep husbands from becoming despondent. There are
more than a few housewives who are the actual head of the
household, and there are many who can earn money. Their only wish
is to be treated as the equals of men in the workplace and for
their husbands to stop their macho bluster and just manage their
own affairs. Although times have changed, the mass media
continues to focus on patriarchs and only thinks of structural
reforms that can rescue them. The statistic that women comprise
16.8% of all household heads and the fact that women make up
almost 40% of all workers has no meaning here. (Cho Sun-kyung

I recently heard from a close friend that a newly appointed
branch manager of a foreign bank established a policy of gender
equality in hiring, saying that it was necessary to change the
company's male-centered culture. Why do people not realize that
if the chaebol-centered system is a source of problems, then the
male-centered privilege system must also be harmful to the
economy? Why is it still possible to indulge in the reckless
notion that structural reform is possible without reform of
existing gender relations which divided men and women into the
"leaders of society" and "the home"?

I think that the reason is connected to the problem discussed in
the previous section; that is, the existence of "private profit
network" of men which have prevented the creation of a healthy
public space to mediate between the state, the family and the
individuals. During the period of compressed growth, members of
society considered it normal to be mobilized and
instrumentalized, and the same process occurred within the
family. The family even had to assume all the welfare functions
that should have been the responsibility of the state. As the
breakdown of the state system has accelerated, the family has
also reached the verge of collapse. Up to now, the family has
appeared to be successful at uniting family members into a single
unit through the powerful emotions it elicits based on the image
of the bloodline and the tight survival unit.

In truth, the family did perform its central role of providing
the basic necessities and meaning of life to its individual
members during the Korean war and the following emergency state
of the recent rush-to development. However, in this economic
crises, the reality of the family has emerged; it has become
clear that paths of communication within the family have
collapsed. While a welfare state has not yet developed to care
for South Korea's kukmin, the family has also been unable to
provide much of the caring and intimacy that its members need.
Just as there are people who have become skeptical of the state,
there are also more and more people who are questioning the value
of the family. Many young people have begun to realize that the
family is stifling; they argue that the family is no more than a
mere survival unit in economic term. Many young people now are
ready to leave their families. But this time, the economy is not
ready for them. It is another tragedy that out-of-synch timing
has brought about to south Koreans.

3.  What subjects should be formed, and who should we join with?

"There was a time when people instrumentalized and oppressed each other.
An energy that thrived by hurting others and
An energy that thrived by caring for others.
Which one should be taken?"

Now and then, I meet young students who ask me how can a history
be written and a life be maintained without the energy and
passion that comes from the family and the nation. I myself have
been sometimes troubled by this very question. In this crisis,
are there any other kinds of energy and movements besides those
rooted in the love of the nation and the family? The backroom
deals and collusion between politicians and businessmen that were
made possible by familial, regional, and alumni networks were the
"fuel" that powered the express train of south Korean economic
development. Will it be possible to undo the linkages of the food
chains? Can private profit networks and the bureaucratic
authoritarianism that was firmly established during the period of
abnormal economic development be dissolved?

Up to now, those who have not been able to earn a living have
been able to survive on leftovers thanks to the trickle-down
effect of continual economic growth. Now, however, there will be
a real struggle for survival. Changes in the outside environment
are making it impossible to maintain the current system, and
internal differentiation has also reached a critical stage.
Meanwhile, people who feel trapped are getting more defensive and
fearful. If the intensity of compressed time prevented civil
society from nurturing its own consciousness, then how can South
Koreans make a new beginning? Can they trust the new president
who is said to be studying very diligently? No matter how skilled
he is and no matter how brilliant his advisors are, it will be
difficult for him to free himself from the authoritarian culture
of the politics of the "Three Kims Era," from the essentialism of
nationalism and from the "culture of fear" created by the
totalitarian politics of discipline and mass mobilization.

South Korean intellectuals must realize that the world they are
living in is a closed circuit in which they are trapped.
Compressed rush-to growth has resulted in uneven development and
created a distorted network of desire. In their crisis of
identity, beloved ones hurt each other through their obsessive
desire and cultural absolutism. The bankruptcy of history has
become apparent, a history in which various subjectivities were
eliminated for the sake of creating a statist/nationalist
subject. Society is rapidly losing its self-generating creative

South Korean society has now reached a crossroads; metaphorically
speaking, South Koreans need to decide whether to repair the
irrigation system in order to farm better or to just divide what
has been harvested among the power elites and abandon any further
production for this year. Will they continue to farm or will they
let themselves fall into ruin? It is said that class structure is
being reconstituted on a world-wide scale. Regardless of
nationality, the population of the world is being polarized into
a wealthy class and a poor class in the ratio of 20:80. Even
though such facts are become quite clear, many South Korean power
elites "choose" to believe that the nation is eternal.14 What is
the source of the patriotic psychology that resists all efforts
to have a serious discussion on issues of class and capital when
the majority of a national population would fall into the
marginalized category in the world class system. Who among South
Koreans join in changing the world class system? Recently,
multinational capital has established a firm foundation for world
domination through ever more sophisticated methods. It has also
begun to utilize nationalism to its advantage, and it is very
likely that passionate nationalists and multinational capitalists
will become allies whether they realize it or not.

In the last three decades, South Koreans devoted themselves to
economic growth in a extremely short period of time. Now they
must utilize all their sensibilities and intellectual faculties
to figuring out quickly what sort of crisis they are facing. It
is a time for "practical learning" in deconstructing and
constructing their own subjectivities. From what perspective,
>from what position, and with what group should one ally with? I
feel that the great modern thinkers have already discovered all
the important "truths." All that remains is for everyone to
create one's own local space where the truths can be practiced. I
am suspicious of specialist scholars who are comfortable inside
their "well" of "knowledge;" they do not want to acknowledge
change. The time has come for the concept of specialization to be
redefined. The time has come when one begins to generate a
language that can make sense of a local system that was made
through the compressed and colonial modernization. To accomplish
this task, it will be necessary to know the complex interplay of
political economy and cultural psychodrama and achieve an
epistemological break.

I have been proposing that the notions of the nation, the state,
and the family should be reexamined. There should be a more
vigorous debate on issues of class, gender, and capital only
after those notions are successfully deconstructed. About South
Korean nationalism, I agree with the statement of Kwon Hyokbom
that "a system has [already] been made where things just move
within an automatic closed circuit."[13] Nationalism has been the
core of the discourse politics used by both conservative and
radical domestic political groups to acquire power, and the
system built around it is so stabilized by now.

Their language leaves little space for reflexivity.

A reflection on the nature of temporality is necessary in order
to achieve the necessary epistemological break. I see more and
more people who want to restore the quotidian world that has been
destroyed in the process of modernization. The restoration of the
quotidian will be possible through the management of time.
Nothing can be achieved without regulating and managing time.
Beginning from the ontological recognition that all humans will
someday die, there needs to be a philosophy and methodology that
can slow down the pace of change until a system for regulating
desire and for managing daily time can be discovered. People may
become accustomed to live with pessimism rather than optimism. In
this sense, the IMF can be seen as a turning point, offering an
opportunity for moving away from the tornado. Slowing the pace of
change ultimately means that capital flows need to be regulated.
There will be no change unless there is a comprehensive effort to
regulate the system of monopoly capital and to expand the realm
of the quotidian.

I/we need to acknowledge the differentiation of society and built
a new system upon a foundation of differentiated subjects. Let me
repeat that there no longer exists the beauty of the national
unity. There are no longer "kukmin" who can be mobilized under
the threat of an "emergency." The higher social status that we
try so hard to achieve only causes more anxiety. The
instrumentalized family only perpetuates our misery by demanding
sacrifice. For us, there are only various relationships and
groups that have to be created and maintained at various levels
in order to live in a world of glocalization.

So, now before discussing the nation, let's talk about the
differences between men and women, the younger generation and the
older generation, and the haves and the have-nots. Before
discussing the family, let's talk about individuals. I am now
concerned about the lives of youths not just as "studying
machines" but as active cultural agents and as frustrated
unemployed young people. I am a resident of the South Korean
peninsula as well as an Asian and global feminist. What
determines me is what I choose from various positions I have.

As an academic, I/we must stop thinking with established
categories. I/we should view existing scholarly concepts with
skepticism, overthrow the language I/we have been using, and
change the boundaries of modern academia itself. The time has
come for us to choose reality over the image and induction over
deduction. It is time for us to do intensive fieldwork and
participant observation just like an anthropologist in a strange
world. Going back and forth across borders....time and space open
for the imagination.


Milan Kundera once commented upon 'slowness' in his novel
(1995:34). "There is a secret bond between slowness and memory, 
between speed and forgetting. Consider this utterly commonplace 
situation: a man is walking down the street. At a certain 
moment, he tries to recall something, but the recollection 
escapes him. Automatically, he slows down. Meanwhile, a person who 
wants to forget a disagreeable incident he has just lived through
starts unconsciously to speed up his pace, as if he were trying to
distance himself from a thing still to close to him in time."

Have South Koreans been walking so quickly and mindlessly in
order to forget their 
terrible experience that they have had to go through? "Don't talk
about reality! Don't walk slowly!" The people of South Korea have
probably been able to achieve an economic miracle by obeying these
imperatives and allowed their everyday existence to be regulated by
those imperatives.

I don't think that these conditions are unique to South Korea.
Rather I think that this is phenomena common to many Third World 
nations, or even First or Second World nations that had to go
through the compressed rush-to development, those societies that 
underwent modernization while unable to make their own history. 

When I turned on the TV this morning, the news began with
the headlines about splits within political parties, announcing that 
"this week is most critical." I/we live in a society where every week
is critical, a society where crisis is chronic, a society that makes
crisis chronic. Confronting this harsh reality is often too hard for
me to endure. Walter Benjamin provided some comfort on this point when
he wrote that "the state of emergency is not the exception but the

I am dreaming of the days when I can manage my own time and
space, when I can be more imaginative and caring. I wanted to open 
up a new space of reflection that breaks away from the closed 
circuit in which a sterile language is merely reproduced over and 
over. I wanted to write a more dialogical text than this. Indeed, I
want to know who are the time managers that make my life so hectic.

Translated by Michael D. Shin, Ph. D. Candidate, University of


1 This title is borrowed from an art critic Yi Chuhon's essay on
artistic thought that appeared in Hangyoreh sinmun. ("Seeing the
20th Century Through Art: Foucault and Magritte," Hangyoreh
sinmun, Feb. 19, 1998, p.13).

2 I think that there is an Asian model of development that was
largely created by Japan and the U.S. It can be said that after
Japan created the model of export-led development, South Korea
and the other East Asian states and, a little later, the
Southeast Asian states copied this model, thus forming an Asian
economic bloc. Currently, China is at a crossroads where it must
decide whether it will follow the Asian model of development or
develop its own alternative model. The decisions of China, which
contains 20% of the world's population, will have a significant
influence on the future of Asia.

3 Chollian is one of the major computer network providers in
south Korea.

4 Martin and Schumann (1997) note that it was American economist
Edward Luttwak who first used the term "turbo capitalism." Hans
Peter Martin and Harold Schumann, The Global Trap: Globalization
and the Assault on Prosperity and Democracy, (London: Zed Press),
translated into Korean by Kang Sudong (Seoul: Youngrim), 1997.

5 There has been a rush of translations of books that discuss the
dark future of global capitalism. The representative ones are:
Martin and Harold Schumann's The Trap of Globalization, 1997;
Jeremy Rifkin, The End of Labor, 1996; Lester Thurow, The Future
of Capitalism, 1997.

6 The term kukmin is a combination of two Chinese characters
meaning "nation" and "people." Although it is sometimes
translated as "citizen" or "people," there is no exact equivalent
of this term in English.

7 Works that have treated compressed temporality include: Anthony
Giddens's [Postmodernity] (1991), David Harvey's [The Condition
of Post Modernity] (1989), Marshall Berman's [All That is Solid
Melts Into Air] (1982). Interestingly, many books and articles
have come out lately that are about temporality and a busy
lifestyle, such as Milan Kundera's [Slowness](1995), Bertrand
Russell's [In Praise of Idleness](1997), and Poul Lafarge's [The
Right to be Lazy] (1997).

8 Of course, I am not asserting that the First and Third Worlds
are fundamentally different societies. In fact, I have no
intention of situating myself within a "we/they" dichotomy of the
world. I know quite well that there are great differences in
people's experiences of time and space within a single state
according to one's class or gender.

9 For more the South Korean education system, see Cho Haejoang,
"Children in the Examination War in South Korea" in Children and
the Politics of Culture (1995) edited by Sharon Stephens,
Princeton University press.

10 This passage is a quote from an article by art critic Yi
Chuhon on Rene Magritte and Michel Foucault, who opened a new
world of knowledge at the end of the century. Published in the
Hangyoreh sinmun, this passage was originally meant to explain
aspects of the postmodern condition, but it also contained
something that captured the experience of those who live in an
age where the feudal, the modern, and the postmodern are
intermixed. Hangyore sinmun February 19, 1998: 13.

11 Pyon Yongsik, "The Patriotism of the Korean People," Choson
ilbo, February 9, 1998.

12 Cho Haejoang, "Marriage Stories in a Male-Centered Republic,"
Saero ssunun Kyolhon iyagi 1, 2 (Seoul: Tto hana ui munhwa,

13 Kwon Hyokbom, "Globalization and Nationalism in the Age of
Market/Economy Worship," presentation at the monthly meeting of
the Han'guk yosonghakhoe, April 18, 1998.

14 Martin and Schumann (1997, Korean translation), pp.26-28. They
stated that in a "20:80 society," even if only 20% of the
population performs labor, there will be no big problems in
maintaining world capitalism in the 21st century. Regardless of
nationality, this 20% would be able to have an occupation and
actively participate in a life of production/consumption.
According to them, the remaining 80% would either be faced with
an extremely unstable situation of quasi-unemployment or have to
live quietly, being satisfied with the little entertainment and
nourishment provided by the ruling structure, and thankful that
an advanced information management system has already been


Berman, Marshall 1982. All That is Solid Melts Into Air. New York:
Penguin Books. 

Cho Haejoang 1995. "Children in the Examination War in South Korea" in
[Children and the Politics of Culture] edited by Sharon Stephens,
University press.

--------1996. "Marriage Stories in a Male-Centered Republic,"
[Saero ssunun Kyolhon iyagi] 1, 2. Seoul: Tto hana ui munhwa.

Cho Hyiyon, 1998. "reexamination of the theory of the Asian development:
focused on the concept of development state" [Economy and Society] vol
Seoul: Hanul. pp.46-76.

Cho Sun-kyung 1998. " A Critique of Democratic Market Economy and
Confucian Patriarchy," a paper presented at the monthly forum of the
Korean Women's Studies Association, March 21.

Giddens, Anthony 1991. Postmodernity. Translated in Korean by Yi
Hyoun-hee. Seoul: Minyoungsa. 

Harvey, David 1989. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Basic

Kim, Hogi 1998. "Sociology of the IMF Era," [Report of the
intellectuals] Seoul: Minumsa.

Kundera, Milan 1995. [Slowness]. Translated by Kim Byongwook, Seoul:

Kwon Hyokbom 1998. "Globalization and Nationalism in the Age of
Market/Economy Worship," a paper presented at the monthly forum of the
Korean Women's Studies Association, April 18.

Lafarge,Poul 1997. The Right to be Lazy. Translated by Cho Hyoung-jun,
Seoul: Saemulgoyl.

Martin, Hans Peter/Schumann, Harold 1997. The Global Trap: 
Globalization and the Assault on Prosperity and Democracy, (London: Zed
Press), Translated by Kang Sudong. Seoul: Youngrim

Pieterse, Jan Nederveen and Parekj Bhikhu 1997. The Colonization of
Imagination. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Pyon Yongsik 1998. "The Patriotism of the Korean People," Choson ilbo,
February 9

Rifkin, Jeremy 1996. The End of Labor. Translated by Lee Young-ho.
Seoul: Minumsa

Russell, Bertrand 1997. In Praise of Idleness. Translated by Song
Eun-gyong. Seoul: Sahaepyongron.

Thurow, Lester 1997. The Future of Capitalism. Translated by Yoo
Jae-hoon. Seoul: Koryowon.
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