The ‘truth politics’ of anti-North Koreanism: the post-ideological cultural representation of North Korea and the cultural criticisms of Korean nationalism
This essay questions the ‘truth politics’ of anti-North Koreanism in which a ‘genuine’ figuration of North Korea is presumed to be achievable at the popular level. I define the truth politics of anti-North Koreanism as the political-cultural discursive formation obscuring the ideological powerfulness of anti-North Koreanism that hinges on ‘the normality of nationalism’. The truth politics reinscribes and reinforces the populist and functionalist belief in national unification that justifies developmentalist agendas for North Korea. As an alternative, I discuss the post-colonial cultural criticism that calls into question the identity politics of popular nationalism, which implicitly performs along the lines of the Sunshine Policy guidelines to naturalize the normality of nationalism under economic developmentalism. The questionable formation of nationalism prevents South Koreans from gaining self-reflexive access to the way in which heterogeneous tropes of the nation rupturing in the discursive practice of popular nationalism are exploited. But I also critically interrogate the analytical framework presumed within the criticism, because it constrains its own scope and abilities of questioning the truth politics of anti-North Koreanism the criticism ostensibly targets.
KEYWORDS: anti-North Koreanism, nationalism, nation-state, post-colonialism, neoliberalism, cultural Otherness, Korean unification, social movements
Minkyu Sung is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, USA. He is currently completing his doctoral dissertation. His areas of specialization include Critical/Cultural Studies, Political Economy of Communication, and Globalization and Postcolonialism.
Contact address: 105 BCSB, Department of Communication Studies, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA52242, USA.