Editor's Introduction

Recognition and Representation of North Korea

Kim Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.9-14

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Feature Articles

In the Making of a New South Korean Nationalism

Jay Song

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.17-48

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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.

Resettlement of North Korean Refugees in South Korea: Obstacles to Building Good Relationships with South Koreans

Suik Jung

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.49-77

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The failed integration of North Korean refugees in South Korea has not been improved, despite many studies and measures created to address the issue. A different approach is required to give a new insight into alleviating the problem. Early studies demonstrated that social capital, resources accessible through social networks, generated benefits; it played a crucial role in the integration processes of refugees. However, as indicated in previous research, North Korean refugees had poor relationships with South Koreans. It is necessary to identify the reasons for the poor relationships to enhance them. Therefore, this study explores the obstacles preventing the refugees from building good relationships with South Koreans. This study conducted semi-structured interviews with eight participants consisting of seven North Koreans and one South Korean. Findings show that the refugees’ relationships with South Koreans were hindered by their different mindsets and frequent job changes. Their relationships were also hampered by South Koreans’ ignorance and cultural and linguistic differences. This study provides valuable indications for how to improve the refugees’ relationships with South Koreans.


Korean-American Community’s May 18 Gwangju: From Collective Action to Social Movement

Mikyoung Kim

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.81-113

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There has been very few research on the May 18 Democratization Movement in Gwangju analyzed from the transnational perspective. This study aims to fill the void of existing studies by posing two specific questions. First, why and how Korean-Americans, who were non-politicized minorities, participated in the May 18 Movement? And second, what were the impetuses behind its transformation from collective action to organized social movement? The early responses of the Korean-Americans took on the characteristics of collective action, which later transformed into organized social movement. This article argues that Yoon Han-bong, the last fugitive of May 18 and the first Korean political asylum grantee in the United States, was the main impetus behind such transformation. The transformative mechanisms include Yoon's charismatic leadership, national pride fostered by consciousness-raising education, organizational culture that provided a comfort zone to alienated Korean immigrants, and empowering activist experiences. As democratization progressed in Korea in 1987, confusion and conflict arose over the future directions of Korean-Americans’ May 18 Gwangju movement. The morale and sense of direction deteriorated greatly in part due to Yoon’s permanent return to Korea resulting in organizational demise leaving the legacies of the transnational May 18 Movement in disarray.

Book Review

Harrison Cheehyung Kim, Heroes and Toilers: Work as Life in Postwar North Korea, 1953–1961 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018). ISBN: 9780231546096, 280 Pages. Keywords: Kim

Hae Eun Shin

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.117-124

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An Interview with Jeong Se-hyun "Hanbando t'ongil-gwa kukche chŏngse," in Han'guk chisŏng-gwaŭi t'ongil taedam (Seoul: Paradigm Book, 2018)

Interviewer: Kim Sung-Min

S/N Korean Humanities :: Vol.7 No.2 pp.127-146

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