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Fantasy, the Final Frontier: Making Science Moral in Postwar North Korean Youth Culture

Fantasy, the Final Frontier: Making Science Moral in Postwar North Korean Youth Culture The atomic bombing marked an end to World War II and triggered the evacuation of the Japanese from the Korean peninsula. In its wake came parallel occupations by the USSR and the US, under which North and South Korea dedicated themselves to rebuilding from postwar destruction. Science and technology had a central role to play as the means through which to meet economic goals and achieve military, political, and social ideals. In North Korea, the investment in science and technology revealed itself in young reader magazines, where scientific content made banal the exceptional power of nuclear energy and made the natural world knowable through formulas and data. At the same time, science and fiction took an interest in the relationships between the self and the collective and between humans and nature and reconfigured these relationships in moral terms. This article argues that scientific knowledge had to be framed by, and injected with, strong moral guidance to assure accurate and appropriate applications of the technical and scientific. Moral restructuring was the ground zero of social and economic reform, and the narrative form was recognized as the best way to shape the most elusive frontier of all: the fantasy of the young. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

Fantasy, the Final Frontier: Making Science Moral in Postwar North Korean Youth Culture

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Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1215/21581665-6973308
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The atomic bombing marked an end to World War II and triggered the evacuation of the Japanese from the Korean peninsula. In its wake came parallel occupations by the USSR and the US, under which North and South Korea dedicated themselves to rebuilding from postwar destruction. Science and technology had a central role to play as the means through which to meet economic goals and achieve military, political, and social ideals. In North Korea, the investment in science and technology revealed itself in young reader magazines, where scientific content made banal the exceptional power of nuclear energy and made the natural world knowable through formulas and data. At the same time, science and fiction took an interest in the relationships between the self and the collective and between humans and nature and reconfigured these relationships in moral terms. This article argues that scientific knowledge had to be framed by, and injected with, strong moral guidance to assure accurate and appropriate applications of the technical and scientific. Moral restructuring was the ground zero of social and economic reform, and the narrative form was recognized as the best way to shape the most elusive frontier of all: the fantasy of the young.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2018

References