15세기 유향소 복립 논의를 통해 본 지방통치 방식의 특징

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한국문화, Vol.95 No., pp. 37-71
유향소지방통치향리품관향대부사심관경재소yuhyangsolocal governancelocal clerks(鄕吏)local officials(品官)hyangdaebusasimgwankyungjaeso
This paper examines the discussion on re-establishing yuhyangso during the reign of
King Seongjong and reconsider its meaning. This particular discussion over
re-establishing yuhyangso has been an important subject of academic research in
understanding the political powers and local governance measures in early Joseon period.
Whereas conventional scholarship mainly understood yuhyangso from a dichotomous point
of view, that is Confucian literati versus meritorious elite or central versus local, this
paper seeks to analyze the discussion’s background and points of debate within its
historical context and examine the meaning of re-establishing yuhyangso in relation to
the state’s local governing policy.
From the beginning of the dynasty, Joseon proceeded with its centralist control of
local governance, which became the very background of the work of re-establishing
yuhyangso during King Seongjong’s reign. This is supported by the fact that the central
government expected yuhyangso to play the role of handling local customs, or more in
particular observing local clerks. In addition, yuhyangso was understood based on ancient
China’s hyangdaebu system or Koryeo’s sasimgwan institution which aimed at centralized
control of the local society. Opinions on the issue varied over the probable side effects
of re-establishing yuhyangso and how to overcome them, which was also determined by
their perceptions of local officials. In short, at the center of the controversy was whether
the central government could successfully carry out the centralist control of local
governance through yuhyangso.
Certain rules and laws regarding yuhyangso commonly specify ways of restraining
the power and actions of local officials by having yuhyangso controlled by the state.
This indicates that the intention behind re-establishing yuhyangso was not that of
restoring the former yuhyangso with autonomous character but of incorporating
yuhyangso into one of the centralized local governing systems, regulating such matters
ranging from personnel appointment to its operation within the bureaucratic system. It
was likely for the yuhyangso to operate in the old way regardless of the state’s attempt,
and thus it needed constant supervision from the central government to work as
expected. The subsequent discussion on abolishing yuhyangso signaled the discrepancy
between the ideal and reality regarding the institution but basically, it was also in line
with the previous re-establishment issue.
With this new approach to the discussion on re-establishing yuhyangso during King
Seongjong’s reign, we can get more of a clear understanding of the character of early
Joseon political forces and enable diverse scholarly discussions on the matter of the
state’s local governance in the following period.
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Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원)Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.93-96(2021)
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