In the Making of a New South Korean Nationalism

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S/N Korean Humanities Vol.7 No.2 pp.17-48 ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)

Jay Song
University of Melbourne

Received July 26, 2019; Revised version received July 13, 2020; Accepted February 28, 2021


Drawing from Shin Gi Wook’s conceptualization of ethnonationalism, and Seol Dong Hoon’s theory of hierarchical nationhood, this article seeks to examine the evolution of a new South Korean nationhood, analyzed over the past few decades. Military conflict, foreign intervention, political bifurcation, and globalization have been fundamental elements that shaped the past 70 years of evolving Korean identities in the Korean peninsula. This article scrutinizes the intersectionality of nationality, class, gender, and ethnicity between co-ethnic North Korean refugees, Korean Chinese (Chosŏnjok) immigrants, non-Korean migrant wives, and non- Korean workers. It is found that unlike the intellectual trends of post-nationalism advocated by former democratic and peace activists in South Korea, younger South Koreans instead show a tendency towards a new South Korean nationalism. To this end, modern South Korean society is still in the process of coalescence towards this new conception of nationalism.

Key Words : ethno-nationalism, hierarchical nationhood, coethnic relations, migration, Korea

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