S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Center for Social Sciences (사회과학연구원) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Vol.03, No.01/02 (2013)
The Korean War and the Politics of Memory: The Kangby.n Incident
- Lee, Soo-Jung
- Issue Date
- Korean Social Sciences Review(KSSR), Vol.3 No.2, pp. 101-127
- Korean War; politics of memory; trauma; collective memory; personal memory; identity; Kangbyŏn Incident
- During the Korean War, thousands of civilians died in a fight between right- and leftwing forces in the county of Kangbyoŏn, in North Korea, in an incident that South Koreans and North Koreans interpret differently. In this article I examine how South Korea’s understanding of this traumatic event has shaped the collective memory and identity of people from Kangbyŏn and, in turn, has generated the individual memories and identities of those people. By exploring how shifting narratives of the post–Cold War era (the late 1990s and the early 2000s) have influenced both collective and individual memories and identities, I analyze how Cold War–era memories of the Korean War produced “division subjects” with identities based on the “us versus them” mentality, and how these people have negotiated their memories and identities during the period in which a hegemonic political order based on anticommunism faltered.