The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea

Hardcover | September 1, 2015

byHyun Ok Park

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The unification of North and South Korea is widely considered an unresolved and volatile matter for the global order, but this book argues capital has already unified Korea in a transnational form. As Hyun Ok Park demonstrates, rather than territorial integration and family union, the capitalist unconscious drives the current unification, imagining the capitalist integration of the Korean peninsula and the Korean diaspora as a new democratic moment.

Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research in South Korea and China, The Capitalist Unconscious shows how the hegemonic democratic politics of the post-Cold War era (reparation, peace, and human rights) have consigned the rights of migrant laborers-protagonists of transnational Korea-to identity politics, constitutionalism, and cosmopolitanism. Park reveals the riveting capitalist logic of these politics, which underpins legal and policy debates, social activism, and media spectacle.

While rethinking the historical trajectory of Cold War industrialism and its subsequent liberal path, this book also probes memories of such key events as the North Korean and Chinese revolutions, which are integral to migrants' reckoning with capitalist allures and communal possibilities. Casting capitalist democracy within an innovative framework of historical repetition, Park elucidates the form and content of the capitalist unconscious at different historical moments and dissolves the modern opposition among socialism, democracy, and dictatorship. The Capitalist Unconscious astutely explores the neoliberal present's past and introduces a compelling approach to the question of history and contemporaneity.

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The unification of North and South Korea is widely considered an unresolved and volatile matter for the global order, but this book argues capital has already unified Korea in a transnational form. As Hyun Ok Park demonstrates, rather than territorial integration and family union, the capitalist unconscious drives the current unificat...

Hyun Ok Park teaches sociology at York University. She writes about global capitalism, transnational migration, empire, postcolonialism, and the issues of comparison and comparability. She is the author of Two Dreams in One Bed: Empire, Social Life, and the Origins of the North Korean Revolution in Manchuria.

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Kobo ebook|Oct 14 2005

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:September 1, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231171927

ISBN - 13:9780231171922

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsPart I: Crisis1. The Capitalist Unconscious: The Korea Question2. The Aesthetics of Democratic Politics: Labor, Violence, and RepetitionPart II: Reparation3. Reparation: On Colonial Returnee4. Socialist Reparation: On Living Labor5. Chinese Revolution in Repetition: The Minority QuestionPart III: Peace and Human Rights6. Korean Unification as Capitalist Hegemony7. North Korean Revolution in Repetition: Crisis and Value8. Spectacle of T'albuk: Freedom and Free LaborConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Park's book fundamentally challenges existing understandings of Korean unification and will surely redefine debates about the meaning of a transnational Korea.