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Negotiating Cultural Identities in Conflict: A Reading of the Writings of Paek Kyŏnghae (1765–1842)

Negotiating Cultural Identities in Conflict: A Reading of the Writings of Paek Kyŏnghae (1765–1842) This article examines the life of Paek Kyŏnghae (1765–1842), a late Chosŏn scholar official from P’yŏngan Province, a region popularly conceived as lacking a yangban pedigree and scholarly tradition, so that its inhabitants were subject to ongoing social contempt and political discrimination. Situating Paek within this regional cultural context and also within the dynastic institutional practices of his time reveals the development of subjective expressions of regional belonging by insiders, as well as equally subjective expressions of regional stereotyping by outsiders. Tracing northern regional identities, as constructed and negotiated in reaction to outsiders’ views, and then locating such regional identities and politics in relation to the central court sheds new light on the personal ordeals that Paek was forced to undergo throughout his career. The compromises and choices that he made at every turn were driven by contradictions between Confucian ideals that honored the principle of meritocracy and dynastic practices that hinged upon long-standing aristocratic tradition. This article exposes the integrative power of dynastic ideology and systems (as well as complex institutional processes) that demanded a high level of conformity from individual participants, thus imposing lifelong agony on a gifted man because of his demeaned place of origin and less-than-desirable pedigree. In methodology, this study provides a critique of nation-centered historiography by highlighting views from the periphery. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

Negotiating Cultural Identities in Conflict: A Reading of the Writings of Paek Kyŏnghae (1765–1842)

Journal of Korean Studies , Volume 10 (1) – Sep 1, 2005

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Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2005.0007
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines the life of Paek Kyŏnghae (1765–1842), a late Chosŏn scholar official from P’yŏngan Province, a region popularly conceived as lacking a yangban pedigree and scholarly tradition, so that its inhabitants were subject to ongoing social contempt and political discrimination. Situating Paek within this regional cultural context and also within the dynastic institutional practices of his time reveals the development of subjective expressions of regional belonging by insiders, as well as equally subjective expressions of regional stereotyping by outsiders. Tracing northern regional identities, as constructed and negotiated in reaction to outsiders’ views, and then locating such regional identities and politics in relation to the central court sheds new light on the personal ordeals that Paek was forced to undergo throughout his career. The compromises and choices that he made at every turn were driven by contradictions between Confucian ideals that honored the principle of meritocracy and dynastic practices that hinged upon long-standing aristocratic tradition. This article exposes the integrative power of dynastic ideology and systems (as well as complex institutional processes) that demanded a high level of conformity from individual participants, thus imposing lifelong agony on a gifted man because of his demeaned place of origin and less-than-desirable pedigree. In methodology, this study provides a critique of nation-centered historiography by highlighting views from the periphery.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2005

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