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The Cultural Logic of the Korean Modernization Project and its Gender Politics
- The Cultural Logic of the Korean Modernization Project and its Gender Politics
- Eun-shil K.
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- Asian Journal of Women's Studies
- vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 50 - 77
- SSCI; SCOPUS; KCI
- In this article I seek to examine the cultural discourse of the modernization project in Korea. I especially focus on women and how they were incorporated within state modernization programs. South Korea has industrialized rapidly since the implementation of its modernization project in the early 1960s, which implied economic, political, and social-institutional development. However, these institutional changes were not value-free, because the modernization process has been essentially oriented towards westernization and signifies an extinction of the past. Conflicts and tensions erupted around meanings, values, and norms as embedded in the modernization project. The Korean modernization project, which mobilized the whole nation, by making the project a collective effort, "ours," tried to resolve certain problems by separating the material/economic, associated with the West, from the East/Korean. In this process, women as homogenous and ahistorical subjects were mobilized to represent the spiritual, cultural, and a reconstituted patriarchal tradition of the nation/ state. These patterns were established through the dissemination of cultural norms and ethics. This article explores these cultural and normative processes, whereby women are shaped into dutiful patriarchal subjects - as daughters, wives and mothers - in the Korean modernization project.
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