S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Theses (Master's Degree_국제학과)
A Nascent Middle Class in North Korea: The origins of the donju and their relationship with the state
북한의 중산층 발생: 돈주의 유래 및 정부당국과 관계
- Matthew Pullen
- Song, Jiyeoun
- 국제대학원 국제학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제대학원
- North Korea; DPRK; middle class; donju; marketisation; stratification; state-society relations; outsourced byungjin
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 국제대학원 국제학과, 2017. 8. Song, Jiyeoun.
- The decline of the Stalinist economy and revitalisation of the market economy in North Korea has brought about a concomitant change in the pattern of social stratification: the relevancy of the politically determined system of songbun is declining, while new divisions have emerged, based on the command of economic resources. Applying Marxian and Weberian class theory, the international traders, financiers and entrepreneurs sitting at the apex of the informal market are identified as the countrys proto-middle class. Collectively referred to as the donju, the class largely comprises historically discriminated groups, who were subsequently able to leverage their distinguishing features to profit from the market. Economic experimentation predating the famine of the mid-1990s is shown to have sown the seeds for the rapid proliferation and growth of markets, and paved the way for the commercial partnerships presently observed between the donju and the state. This collaboration serves a vital function in providing essential goods and services to the general population and helps to realise Kim Jong Uns commitment to economic growth – the state has effectively outsourced the pursuit of byungjin. Such agreements also present opportunities for the donju to expand the scope of their operations, otherwise hindered by the restrictive environment, and a means for Party officials to transmute their political authority into wealth. In this light, such collusion brings the two, supposedly antagonistic, strata ever closer together.