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Review Essay: The Ethnography of North Korean Texts

Review Essay: The Ethnography of North Korean Texts Review Essay: The Ethnography of North Korean Texts Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea by Suk-Young Kim. Ann Arbor: University of Mich­ igan Press, 2010. 400 pp. 57 color illustrations. $70.00 (paper). $65. 00 (ebook) Reading North Ko rea: An Ethnological Inquiry by Sonia Ryang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. 244 pp. 4 illus­ trations. $39. 85 ( cloth) Suk-Young Kim's Illusive Uto pia and Sonia Ryang's Reading North Korea are fascinating works for consideration together. Both Kim and Ryang proclaim their works to be "ethnographic" explorations of North Korean society through a particular genre of propaganda: fiction for Ryang and film, theater, and public perf ormance for Kim. Both offer a wealth of North Korean narratives-and in Kim's case, visuals as well-which should be of enormous interest to a broad range of readers. Both are bold in their assertions that texts can be appreciated ethnographically to stand in for social life ; and both employ this tactic in order to access a social world for which traditional ethnographic field research is not yet feasible. While we appreciate these attempts at social analysis or "culture from a distance," in the words of Ryang (pp. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

Review Essay: The Ethnography of North Korean Texts

Journal of Korean Studies , Volume 19 (1) – Mar 14, 2014

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Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2014.0002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Review Essay: The Ethnography of North Korean Texts Illusive Utopia: Theater, Film, and Everyday Performance in North Korea by Suk-Young Kim. Ann Arbor: University of Mich­ igan Press, 2010. 400 pp. 57 color illustrations. $70.00 (paper). $65. 00 (ebook) Reading North Ko rea: An Ethnological Inquiry by Sonia Ryang. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012. 244 pp. 4 illus­ trations. $39. 85 ( cloth) Suk-Young Kim's Illusive Uto pia and Sonia Ryang's Reading North Korea are fascinating works for consideration together. Both Kim and Ryang proclaim their works to be "ethnographic" explorations of North Korean society through a particular genre of propaganda: fiction for Ryang and film, theater, and public perf ormance for Kim. Both offer a wealth of North Korean narratives-and in Kim's case, visuals as well-which should be of enormous interest to a broad range of readers. Both are bold in their assertions that texts can be appreciated ethnographically to stand in for social life ; and both employ this tactic in order to access a social world for which traditional ethnographic field research is not yet feasible. While we appreciate these attempts at social analysis or "culture from a distance," in the words of Ryang (pp.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 14, 2014

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