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South Korea

Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea

Citation:

Moon, Seungsook. 2005. Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Author: Seungsook Moon

Annotation:

This pathbreaking study presents a feminist analysis of the politics of membership in the South Korean nation over the past four decades. Seungsook Moon examines the ambitious effort by which South Korea transformed itself into a modern industrial and militarized nation. She demonstrates that the pursuit of modernity in South Korea involved the construction of the anticommunist national identity and a massive effort to mold the populace into useful, docile members of the state. This process, which she terms “militarized modernity,” treated men and women differently. Men were mobilized for mandatory military service and then, as conscripts, utilized as workers and researchers in the industrializing economy. Women were consigned to lesser factory jobs, and their roles as members of the modern nation were defined largely in terms of biological reproduction and household management.
Moon situates militarized modernity in the historical context of colonialism and nationalism in the twentieth century. She follows the course of militarized modernity in South Korea from its development in the early 1960s through its peak in the 1970s and its decline after rule by military dictatorship ceased in 1987. She highlights the crucial role of the Cold War in South Korea’s militarization and the continuities in the disciplinary tactics used by the Japanese colonial rulers and the postcolonial military regimes. Moon reveals how, in the years since 1987, various social movements—particularly the women’s and labor movements—began the still-ongoing process of revitalizing South Korean civil society and forging citizenship as a new form of membership in the democratizing nation. (Summary from Duke University Press)

Topics: Citizenship, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Femininity/ies, Masculinity/ies, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2005

The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan

Citation:

Kazue, Muta. 2016. “The ‘Comfort Women’ Issue and the Embedded Culture of Sexual Violence in Contemporary Japan.” Current Sociology 64 (4): 620–36. 

Author: Muta Kazue

Abstract:

For over two decades, survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery during the Asia-Pacific War, euphemistically called comfort women (ianfu), have been demanding the Japanese government take responsibility for past atrocities to restore their dignity. They have yet to obtain a satisfactory response; indeed, their demands have frequently been met with verbal attacks from the right-wing, including influential politicians. This article seeks to identify and explain some of the reasons why the problem has remained a highly controversial, but stubbornly unresolved issue. It begins by offering a brief history of the issue and then maps out the contemporary controversy. It shows that right-wing attacks should be understood as stemming from a systemic and deeply embedded bifurcation of women in Japanese society that allows the adoration of some women to comfortably coexist with misogyny, powerful rape myths, and a porn culture. These deeply permeate many areas of society, including its courts.

Keywords: Japan, Korea, comfort women, comfort women issue, Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, conflict-related sexual violence, conflict-related sexual violence against women, South Korea

Topics: Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against Women, Sexuality Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, South Korea

Year: 2016

The Crucible of Sexual Violence: Militarized Masculinities and the Abjection of Life in Post-Crisis, Neoliberal South Korea

Citation:

Park, Youme. 2016. “The Crucible of Sexual Violence: Militarized Masculinities and the Abjection of Life in Post-Crisis, Neoliberal South Korea.” Feminist Studies 42 (1): 17-40.

Author: Youme Park

Abstract:

This paper explores the ways the “civil” society of Post-Crisis, neoliberal South Korea is constituted by a type of militarized masculinity that normalizes and even legitimates sexual violence. When the movie version of the best selling novel, The Crucible, written by Gong, Ji-Young, was released in the fall of 2011, it created a public outcry against the case of sexual molestation of handicapped children by their teachers and school administrators. On September 24 of the same year, a sexual assault inflicted upon a female high school student by a US soldier ignited a mass protest against what many perceive to be an insult against Korea’s national sovereignty. By exploring these two moments of cultural crises, I argue that in a militarized society like South Korea, 1) violence is routinized and normalized (while exoticized and sensationalized at the same time) when it is imagined in sexual terms, 2) sexual violence is naturalized when it is folded into masculine and militarized power, 3) militarism justifies its absolute power to adjudicate who to kill and to let live by resorting to the idealized form of masculinity that is based on the conflation of brutality with immortality, and finally, 4) a public outrage against sexual brutality can be easily co-opted into the reformist rhetoric that argues for a more benevolent form of patriarchy or neocolonial domination unless such outrage is accompanied by a thorough rejection of domination (and brutality) as an idealized form of political power and life itself.

Topics: Civil Society, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Masculinism, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Violence Countries: South Korea

Year: 2016

Ecofeminism in Two Worlds

Citation:

Hawthorne, Susan. 2005. “Ecofeminism in Two Worlds.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 16 (4): 145–47.

Author: Susan Hawthorne

Annotation:

Summary:
"These 2005 conferences suggest a growing engagement with ecofeminist concerns among feminist theorists. My hope is that alongside this theory, there is also a growing engagement with intersections between the inbuilt violence of globalization, free trade, war, fundamentalism and anti-feminism. That is, ecofeminism must remain trenchantly political if it is to be relevant. But it seems that feminist conferences these days do not end up even attempting to outline a forward position. Have we lost the skill and political will to do that?" (Hawthrone 2005, 147).

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Globalization Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea, United States of America

Year: 2005

Toward Everyday Practices of Gender: Implications of Feminist Political Ecology for Gender Mainstreaming in Korean ODA

Citation:

Nam, Souyeon. 2018. “Toward Everyday Practices of Gender: Implications of Feminist Political Ecology for Gender Mainstreaming in Korean ODA.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 24 (4): 463-88.

Author: Souyeon Nam

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: 

This paper suggests feminist political ecology (FPE) as a knowledge resource for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers involved in Korean gender equality-focused ODA (Official Development Assistance) programs. Since Korea joined the OECD in 2010, its government has endeavored to incorporate gender mainstreaming into Korean ODA programs. This has generally taken the "topdown approach," (i.e., shifting the practice of official institutions in ODA agencies of the donor country to recipient countries). However, social and cultural contexts of recipient countries have received little attention in assessing what the outcomes would be in these. This paper reviews feminist political ecology, which has examined multi-scalar gender politics and considers the importance of social and cultural contexts of developing countries, in order for Korean ODA programs to embrace things in a nuanced way regarding gender politics. This paper argues for the potential of FPE as an effective tool for these programs that relate to gender. It proceeds as follows: first, it critically examines characteristics of Korean gender equality focused ODA. Then it reviews what FPE is about, including four themes of feminist political ecology: property rights, gender division of labor, women knowledge resource for policy makers, practition on its review, the paper discusses ways in which feminist political ecology can generate insights for researchers and practitioners involved in the ODA programs of Korea.

KOREAN ABSTRACT: 

연구는 한국 젠더 관련 ODA 정책실무자 연구자들에게 페미니스트 정치생태학을 유용한 연구분야로 제안한다. 2010 한국이 OECD 가입한 이래, 한국 정부는 ODA 프로그램의 젠더 주류화를 향상시키기 위해 노력해왔다. 이에 있어 공여국과 수여국의 ODA 관련기관 제도적 환경을 변화시키는 상향식 접근이 주를 이루었다. 그러나 수여국의 사회문화적 맥락을 고려한 평가에 대한 관심은 상대적으로 제한적이었다. 이에 따라 연구는 개발도상국 특정 지역들의 사회문화적 맥락을 고려한 다중스케일적 젠더 정치를 다루는 페미니스트 정치생태학을 고찰한다. 이를 통해 맥락성이 상대적으로 결여된 젠더 관련 한국 ODA 프로그램을 보완함에 있어 페미니스트 정치생태학이 통찰력을 제공할 있음을 제안하고 있다. 이를 위해 먼저 페미니스트 정치생태학을 재산권, 성역할분담, 여성 권한강화, 여성의 주관성 가지 주제를 중심으로 살펴본다. 다음으로 페미니스트 정치생태학이 폭넓은 민족지학적 현장연구를 기반으로 개발도상국 사례연구를 중심으로 구축된 분야인 만큼, 이러한 기반이 부족한 한국 젠더 ODA 정책수립 연구에 기여할 있음을 보인다. 또한, 국제사회에서 한국이 지니는 특수한 위치로 인해 한국의 젠더 ODA 관련 연구 역시 페미니스트 정치생태학에 기여할 있는 잠재력을 지님을 연구는 지적하고 있다.

Keywords: feminist political ecology, Korean ODA, gender mainstreaming, gender politics, social and cultural contexts

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Livelihoods, Rights, Property Rights Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2018

Ten Years after the Oil Spill in Taean: The Recovery of the Ecosystem, the Life of Women, and the Community

Citation:

Won, You Joon, Sujung Jang, Nuri Jung, Yejoong Kwon, Sae Yan Moon, Hyejin Nho, and Seung Jick Yoo. 2019. "Ten Years after the Oil Spill in Taean: The Recovery of the Ecosystem, the Life of Women, and the Community." Asian Women 35 (4): 1-22.

Authors: You Joon Won, Sujung Jang, Nuri Jung, Yejoong Kwon, Sae Yan Moon, Hyejin Nho, Seung Jick Yoo

Abstract:

Ten years have passed since the impact of the 2007 oil spill on the ecosystem and life of Taean Peninsula. We have investigated the status of the recovery of the marine environment, local economy, families and community by interviewing the people who have lived in Taean. We especially focused on differentiated impacts of the disaster by gender, and in the local communities. Women showed more severe vulnerability because of the limited job opportunities caused by the implicitly ongoing patriarchy in the society, the job characteristics of haenyeo, and underpayment for their labor during the clean-up operations. We also found that there have been social unrests in the local communities originating from conflicts over compensation and allocation of clean-up works, government emergency grants, and local development funds, in addition to high stress levels. The environmental disaster, the Hebei Spirit oil spill, was found to be responsible for the increased number of family break-ups through occurrences such as divorce, intensifying the negative impacts on women. Through this study on the short- and long-term effects of the Hebei Spirit oil spill, we conclude that environmental disasters have more significant and prolonged impacts for women and the community from physical, mental, and socio-economic perspectives.

Keywords: oil spill, environmental disaster, gender, community, family

Topics: Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2019

International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding

Citation:

Goodman, Joyce. 2019. “International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Approaches to Peace, edited by Aigul Kulnazarova and Vesselin Popovski, 441–60. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Joyce Goodman

Abstract:

This chapter uses the published records of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) to analyze how the positioning of international women’s organizations around neutrality played out in organizational configurations of peace and peacebuilding. The chapter argues that the IFUW’s “disinterested” neutrality and the WIDF’s “active” neutrality connected to differing political views on equality, expertise, democracy, sovereignty and imperialism with consequences for the framing of the organizations’ peacebuilding activities and for their organizational links with Korea. The chapter uses the interactions of Kim Hawal-lan and Germaine Hannevart with Korea to conclude that women’s engagement with the peacebuilding initiatives of international women’s organizations should be seen as the outcome of a series of encounters.

Topics: Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2019

Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula

Citation:

Kim, Dong Jin. 2019. "Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula." Asia Europe Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10308-019-00551-5.

Author: Dong Jin Kim

Abstract:

This article explores the challenges and contributions of women in building and sustaining peace in protracted conflicts by conducting a comparative case study on Northern Ireland and Korea. Similarities in the histories of the conflicts and the concurrences in the peace processes have been attracting policy makers and researchers to share lessons between the Northern Ireland and Korean peace processes. However, the peacebuilding role of women and their transversal perspective have not yet received significant attention compared to the high-level agreements, signed predominantly by male politicians. This article identifies the similarities in the peacebuilding activities of women in Northern Ireland and Korea, in terms of their recognition of the interconnection between identity politics and patriarchy, building relationships across the divide through transversal dialogue, and initiating nonviolent peace movements against the militarism of their societies. The comparative case study also shows dissimilarities between the two cases, with regard to the freedom of women to move beyond boundaries, and being part of the official peace process. This article concludes the role of women in both contexts is a key element in sustainable peacebuilding; however, it appears that women’s peacebuilding would not be able to reach its full potential to break down violent structures in conflict-affected societies, as long as their transversal perspective remains at the level of social movement, not part of peacebuilding at all levels of societies, including high-level negotiations.

Keywords: women, gender, peacebuilding, peace process, Northern Ireland, Korea

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: North Korea, South Korea, United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Gender and Conflict in East Asia

Citation:

Bjarnegård, Elin, and Erik Melander. 2017. “Gender and Conflict in East Asia.” In Routledge Handbook of Asia in World Politics, edited by Teh-Kuang Chang and Angelin Chang. New York: Routledge.

Authors: Elin Bjarnegård , Erik Melander

Abstract:

In East Asia, as in the rest of the world, peace and conflict display clear gendered patterns. These patterns contribute both to a better understanding of peace and conflict per se, but gender is also of importance for grasping the causes and consequences of armed conflict. This chapter illustrates numerous ways in which a gender perspective contributes to the knowledge of issues of peace and conflict in East Asia. The constructivist argument points to some interesting possible ways in which changing gender relations may be working for peace in parts of East Asia. The view of China as an enemy is clearly the most widespread in South Korea, but the gender gap is very small with 36" of men and 34" of women thinking of China as an enemy. The gender gap is more evident in Japan where almost a quarter of the male population think of China as an enemy, while only 16" of women do.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Peace Processes Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: China, Japan, South Korea

Year: 2017

Reparations for "Comfort Women": Feminist Geopolitics and Changing Gender Ideologies in South Korea

Citation:

Kim, Min Ji. 2019. "Reparations for "Comfort Women": Feminist Geopolitics and Changing Gender Ideologies in South Korea." Cornell International Affairs Review 12 (2): 5-43.

Author: Min Ji Kim

Abstract:

This paper studies feminist geopolitical practices in South Korea in the context of “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese military around the Second World War. Although there has been a considerable amount of literature penned on the comfort women issue, existing discussions focus largely on the conflict between nationalist and feminist paradigms, while largely minimizing feminist activism and changing gender narratives within Korean society. Therefore, this research aims to expand the field by considering the struggles that comfort women have endured through the lens of feminist geopolitical scholarship. I argue that comfort women activism constitutes a form of feminist geopolitical practice in a way that challenges masculine gender narratives. It has opened up new spaces where comfort women survivors can produce a sense of “survivorhood” and move beyond passivity throughout their lives. The rise of their active voices signals the overturning of traditional patriarchal structures; consequently, along with other forms of activism, these narratives have eventually led to a shift in public attitudes. Unlike how nationalist accounts were dominant in the early 1990s, the increased public attention towards the feminist accounts in the mid-2010s has subsequently increased media coverage of survivors and feminist practices.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2019

Pages

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