This post traces the work of a number of scholars of borderland studies who recently presented their work in Joensuu, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia. Sino-NK’s writers were thus surrounded by conceptual models of borderlands as concrete and liminal, real and imagined.
Is Kim Jong-un merely a symbol? Pekka Korhohen, a visiting scholar at Kyoto University, reviews Kim Jong-un’s charismatic leadership in both theory and practice, engaging with assertions that North Korea is not actually ruled over by the Marshal.
Benjamin Joinau’s conceptual review of mythic and monolithic city spaces of Pyongyang produces an categorical twin. Rural charisma meets urban glory in a key work of psychogeographic imagination.
Kim Jong-un has asserted that “the ideological and spiritual qualities of our agricultural working people have been transformed remarkably.” Robert Winstanley-Chesters investigates.
Robert Winstanley-Chesters examines the scaling and rescaling of important political and narrative messages in 2014 and 1964, including the vital role played by group meetings at different institutional levels.
When the Kim regime arrested, tried and swiftly executed Jang Sung-taek in December 2013, it was implementing the ancient maxim about the relative power of regents and monarchs, and following the ruthless logic of autocracy everywhere. Machiavelli would not have been in the least bit surprised by the death, as Christopher Green investigates in another of his columns for Groove Korea.
The 2014 New Year’s Address leaned heavily upon a classic work of land management. On the brink of its 50th anniversary, Kim Il-sung’s “Rural Theses” seems set to inform much that goes on in North Korea this year, and not just in the agricultural sector. Robert Winstanley-Chesters investigates via the adapted preface to his debut monograph.
In part two of an expansive funded research project, Sino-NK continues its look into the ideological framework of North Korean statecraft. This part also includes an extensive introduction on the relationship between ideology and lived reality.