Reflections on the Intangible Cultural Heritage Policy and Folk Culture Politics in the Postmodern Era: An Autoethnographic Account of the Reconstruction of Kasan Ogwangdae

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Lee, Hoon Sang
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Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Korean Social Sciences Review(KSSR) Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1-35
Government Manufactured FolkloreGasan OgwandaeIntangible Cultural PropertiesPolicy of Cultural PropertiesPopular CulturePolitics of Folk CultureFolklorism
This study examines the study of folklore and the intangible cultural heritage policy of the
Republic of Korea through the lens of the author’s personal experience of reconstructing
the mask dance drama Kasan Ogwangdae. Folklore studies in Korea have been rooted in
nationalism for a long time and have served as the basis of the intangible cultural heritage
policy. The policy’s aim is to preserve Korean culture by identifying valuable items of the
country’s cultural heritage and by supporting and controlling them in the project of building
a modern nation-state.
Through use of autoethnography, this study illuminates the close relationship between
folklore, the intangible cultural heritage policy, and folklore under government control. In
the process, the personal experiences of the author in the 1970s are expanded upon through
his research on mask dance dramas of the Japanese colonial period and the modern nationstate
building project. This study also discusses the appropriation of rural folk knowledge by
modern urban elite and emphasizes the need for further introspection in order to understand the postmodern world.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Center for Social Sciences (사회과학연구원)Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR)Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Vol.01, No.01 (2011)
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