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North Korea : beyond charismatic politics / Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung.

By: Kwon, Heonik, 1962-.
Contributor(s): Chung, Byung-Ho, 1955-.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Asia/Pacific/perspectives: Publisher: Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, c2012Description: xii, 219 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780742556799 (cloth : alk. paper); 0742556794 (cloth : alk. paper); 9781442215771 (electronic); 1442215771 (electronic).Subject(s): Korea (North) -- Politics and governmentDDC classification: 320.95193
Contents:
The great national bereavement, 1994 -- The modern theatre state -- The barrel of a gun -- The graves of revolutionary martyrs -- Gifts to the leader -- The moral economy -- Conclusion.
Summary: "This timely, pathbreaking study of North Korea's political history and culture sheds invaluable light on the country's unique leadership continuity and succession. Leading scholars Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung begin by tracing Kim Il Sung's rise to power during the Cold War. They show how his successor, his eldest son, Kim Jong Il, sponsored the production of revolutionary art to unleash a public political culture that would consolidate Kim's charismatic power and his own hereditary authority. The result was the birth of a powerful modern theater state that sustains North Korean leaders' sovereignty now to a third generation. In defiance of the instability to which so many revolutionary states eventually succumb, the durability of charismatic politics in North Korea defines its exceptional place in modern history. Kwon and Chung make an innovative contribution to comparative socialism and postsocialism as well as to the anthropology of the state. Their pioneering work is essential for all readers interested in understanding North Korea's past and future, the destiny of charismatic power in modern politics, the role of art in enabling this power."--
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
JQ1729.5.A58 K86 2012 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002149672

Includes bibliographical references (p. 193-209) and index.

The great national bereavement, 1994 -- The modern theatre state -- The barrel of a gun -- The graves of revolutionary martyrs -- Gifts to the leader -- The moral economy -- Conclusion.

"This timely, pathbreaking study of North Korea's political history and culture sheds invaluable light on the country's unique leadership continuity and succession. Leading scholars Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung begin by tracing Kim Il Sung's rise to power during the Cold War. They show how his successor, his eldest son, Kim Jong Il, sponsored the production of revolutionary art to unleash a public political culture that would consolidate Kim's charismatic power and his own hereditary authority. The result was the birth of a powerful modern theater state that sustains North Korean leaders' sovereignty now to a third generation. In defiance of the instability to which so many revolutionary states eventually succumb, the durability of charismatic politics in North Korea defines its exceptional place in modern history. Kwon and Chung make an innovative contribution to comparative socialism and postsocialism as well as to the anthropology of the state. Their pioneering work is essential for all readers interested in understanding North Korea's past and future, the destiny of charismatic power in modern politics, the role of art in enabling this power."--

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Kwon (professorial senior research fellow, Trinity Coll., Univ. of Cambridge, UK; Ghosts of War in Vietnam), a social anthropologist, and Chung (cultural anthropology, Hanyang Univ., South Korea) undertake a carefully constructed study of the evolution of North Korea since Kim Il Sung's rise to power. What is now distinct about the North Korean state that the "Great Leader" founded is not its dictatorship, the power of the military, or the political system set in place. Rather, it's that North Korea is the only nation-state with a "charismatic revolutionary leader" at its apex that not only survived the Cold War but created a dynasty, now passed to the third generation, unlike its Soviet and Chinese counterparts. With many references to Clifford Geertz's studies of symbolic anthropology, the authors explore how North Korea succeeded-in this respect-where other postcolonial dictatorships have failed. They find an intensifying use of symbols, especially expressed in art and architecture, a kind of "theater state" that has risen to counter the absence of the apparent genuine heroism and charisma present at North Korea's founding. VERDICT A clearly written but decidedly academic text that should be of interest to all serious North Korea watchers.-Margaret -Heilbrun, Library JournalÅ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Kwon (Univ. of Cambridge) and Chung (Hangyang Univ., South Korea) provide invaluable insight into the role and means of charismatic politics in North Korea. They effectively argue that the regime has used elements of a theater state and family state to build and sustain its legitimacy through arduous political and economic times. The use of the arts to convey and celebrate civic virtues and to associate these virtues with Kim Il Sung, then Kim Jong Il, and now Kim Jung Un is a recurring theme. The homage paid to Kim Il Sung's wife, Kim Jong Suk, is seen as an effort of the regime to present the succession process as natural and necessary. The authors link Kim Il Jong's military-first policy to efforts to cloak himself with his father's charisma and the banner of the continuing revolutionary struggle against imperialism. While the authors acknowledge the regime's success to date, they question how much longer this family state can be sustained by actions of a theater state. They appear to imply that it may be necessary to follow China's course in the 1980s for the regime to survive. This work is highly recommended for scholars of North Korean politics and substantial graduate school collections on Northeast Asia. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. J. M. Peek Glenville State College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Heonik Kwon is professorial senior research fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and previously taught social anthropology at the London School of Economics. Author of several prize-winning books, including Ghosts of War in Vietnam and The Other Cold War, he currently directs the international project "Beyond the Korean War," which investigates the history and memory of the Korean War in local and global contexts. Byung-Ho Chung is professor of cultural anthropology and director of the Institute for Globalization and Multicultural Studies at Hanyang University, South Korea. He has visited North Korea as well as China's borders with North Korea on numerous occasions for humanitarian purposes. He also has conducted research into issues and concerns relating to the educational and social integration of North Korean refugees in South Korea.

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