Robert Winstanley-Chesters’ analytic foray into the hinterland of the Byungjin Line and ‘Treasured Swords’ of a different timbre (possibly timber), combined and reworked into a single piece for the discerning autumn reader.
Why did North Korea decline in the 1980s? And what are the historical roots of today’s “Byungjin line” resounding from Pyongyang? In the final installment of his framework-expanding trilogy, Sino-NK’s voluble environmental analyst explains.
Robert Winstanley-Chesters revisits Kim Il-sung’s 1964 “Rural Theses” in pursuit of an analytical framework for assessing developmental policy under the Byungjin line. Part two of a three-part series.
Rarely do all three leaders of the Kim dynasty go on the public record about a single policy issue, and this makes inter-generational analysis of policy tropes a thorny proposition. However, we now have access to major treatizes on land management theory from the 1960s, 1980s and 2010s. Naturally, Robert Winstanley-Chesters has them lined up for comparison.
North Korean developmental praxis relies on epistemic communities and research institutions to achieve its goals. The country’s institutions are not only meta-devices for rolling out in reportage to add a veneer of intellectual legitimacy to centralized dictat, as Robert Winstanley-Chesters reveals in the case of Pyongyang Botanical Gardens.
As this sweeping essay illustrates, Kim Jong-un’s obsession with turf and landscape, far from being gratuitous, is in fact part of the North Korean leadership’s art of imbuing the very land of the DPRK with charismatic qualities.
Political and Environmental Organization in North Korea: From Charismatic Politics to Landscapes of Charisma
Looking at how we might interpret landscapes in an environment of charismatic politics in North Korea, Robert Winstanley-Chesters finds in the work on on the relationship between the politics and the environment a new and useful theory that goes beyond politics, persons, and personhoods. Borne of the politics of charisma is a “landscapes of charisma.”
No one covers North Korea’s expressions of the “Byungjin line” with more panache than Robert Winstanley-Chesters, who examines the role of families and local neighborhood units in cultivating North Korean legitimacy.