Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea, and: Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, and Legacy (review)
- Journal of Korean Studies
- Center for Korea Studies, University of Washington
- Volume 12, Number 1, Fall 2007
- pp. 180-186
- Additional Information
180The Journal ofKorean Studies Kang-nam Oh addresses this age-old problem in Korean religious history, calling for spiritual growth toward maturity through mutual understanding. As is usually the case with an anthology, the articles briefly reviewed here are uneven in scholarship quality, presentation, and style. The descriptive approaches ofmany articles in the book could also be enhanced by a greater variety of methodological tools and styles of analysis and interpretation. These weaknesses notwithstanding, Christianity in Korea is packed with rich and illuminating information on principal themes in Korean Christianity. I commend once again the volume's important contribution to the understanding of Korean Christianity, and I recommend it as essential reading for anyone interested in the field. In addition, I would suggest to students ofKorean Christianity that in their upcoming study projects they also pay more attention to such significant problems as encounters between traditional Korean religions and Christianity, as was done when the Luce Program held a conference on that theme in spring 2003. Such inquiries could lead to the consideration of collateral problems. How has Christianity affected other religions? How have local traditions and circumstances shaped the indigenization of Christianity? Innovative scholars could also address gaps in the research on such problems as regionalism in Korean Christianity, and the role ofKorean Christianity in economic development, the arts (especially Western music and modern literature), sports, voluntary organizations, women's rights, and labor and rural movements. For that matter, I believe that if the case of Korean Christianity could be studied comparatively—say, against the cases of China, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines—it would foster understanding ofKorean Christianity's unique characteristics. Reviewed by Chai-sik Chung Boston University School of Theology Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea by Seungsook Moon. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006. 255 pp. Tables. $22.95 (paper) Ethnic Nationalism in Korea: Genealogy, Politics, andLegacy by Gi-Wook Shin. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006. 320 pp. Tables. $24.95 (paper) Seungsook Moon, a sociologist at Vassar College, and Gi-Wook Shin, a sociologist at Stanford University, provide two ofthe most recent studies ofKorean modernity andnationalism. Both works center on the sociohistorical formation and development ofpolitical identities during Korea's long twentieth century Book Reviews181 (1884-2002). Their theoretical and analytical entries into the subject matter (Moon by means of postcolonial feminism, and Shin by means of historical sociology) generate intersecting terrains of nationalist and citizen discourses in modern Korea. As both works cross the Gramscian bridge of hegemony (Moon through militarized modernity, and Shin through ethnic nationalism), readers ofAsian studies, political science, sociology, and gender and postcolonial studies will find illuminating vantage points from which to view political identity formation between universalism and Korean particularism. Seungsook Moon's Militarized Modernity and Gender Citizenship in South Korea traces the legacies of Korean modernity to the Japanese colonial period (1910-45), but locates the rise of militarized modernity under Park Chung Hee's (Pak Chönghüi's) authoritarian regime (1961-79), especially during the Yusin ("revitalization") period (1972-79) and in its apparent decline during the democratization of the 1980s and 1990s. For Moon, militarized modernity represents Park's selective appropriation of disciplinary techniques (surveillance, normalization, and physical violence) in order to form the "dutiful national" (kungmiri). The reliance on physical violence (punishment), in particular, leads Moon to assert the specificity ofthe Korean case in contrast to the generality of Western European modernity, as theorized by Michel Foucault, the French social theorist. Foucault understands European modernity as the historical formation of the disciplinary society, a society that normalizes subjects into "docile bodies" through the disciplinary techniques of surveillance (hierarchical observation), normalization, and examination (the combinatory practice ofsurveillance and normalization), in contrast to the punishment techniques under sovereign power. IfMoon is correct , the combination of disciplinary and physical violence may distinguish South Korean modernity from Foucauldian modernity. However, the continued decline ofphysical force as a means of discipline under democratization may call into question the comparative value ofMoon's theoretical concept. Moon organizes her study into two parts, with three chapters in each part. In Part I, titled "Militarized Modernity and Gendered Mass Mobilization, 1963-1987," Moon provides an introductory chapter that examines...