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Democracy As The Legitimate "Form" And "Content": Minjung Misul In Dissident Nationalism Of South Korea
This study delineates minjung misul's ("the people's art") sotong ("dialogue") in reenvisioning Koreans' modernism and nation-state during the 1980s' democratization movement of South Korea. Aligned with the postcolonial dissident movement and the democratization movement, the minjung artists' multilayered dialogue with the sociopolitical, economic, cultural-intellectual, and spiritual realms articulated the artists' underlying operational logic and aspirations-the creation of a legitimate Korean modernism and modernity-in the form of dissident nationalism. In contrast to the state's ethnic nationalism, dissident nationalism, which inherited the Korean desire for democracy from the nationalist movement, engaged in political and aestheticethical contemplations of democracy. With democracy as their central principle, the minjung artists radically reexamined and reconceptualized democracy and other "familiar" yet ambiguous and multi-layered notions/discourses in their reworking of Korean modernism and everyday/national community. In exploring the minjung artists' aesthetic, discursive, and activist endeavors, I demonstrate that the minjung artists attempted to create a competing model of modernism and modernity that would have moral legitimacy over the existing Western and Korean modernisms and modernities. I explore how their structural critique of art ideology and of the art establishment developed into a reenvisioning of everyday community and of the democratization of the Korean nation-state. By interrogating the minjung artists' principle values, humanism/democracy, the study shows that the artists' imagining of the people's nation-state sows the seeds for a new vision of the transnational.
Minjung Misul; Modern and Contemporary Korean Art; Nationalism; modernism; modernity
Dadi, Muhammad Iftikhar; Tu, Thuy
History of Art & Archaeology
Ph.D. of History of Art & Archaeology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis