조선후기의 무과제도와 한국의 근대성
The Late Chosen Military Examination System and Korean Modernity

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Park, Eugene Y.
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서울대학교 규장각한국학연구원
한국문화, Vol.51, pp. 299-319
TIlls study assesses the significance of the late Choson military examination system

in the context of Korean modernity. The military examination system underwent

changes that suggest a broadening social base of political participation, increased

social mobility, enhanced cultural diversity, and greater economic liberalization-all of

which arguably are hallmark features of an early modern Eurasian society. In the

case of late Chosen Korea which relatively free from iuvasion and rebellion, millions

of Korean men chose to take the examiuation for military appointments. Utilizing a

large database of some 35,000 military examination graduates (roughly a fifth of all

men who earned their degrees from 1402 to 1894), this study argues that the

military examination not only spurred the subdivision of the ruling elite, the

aristocracy, into central civil official, central military official, and local aristocrat

families but also contributed to the coexistence of aristocratic Confucian and

syncretic popular cultures. The coexistence sustaiued cultural arenas where the elites

and nonelites could share social values in more simplified forms, although ultimately

derived from the Korean brand of Confucian ideology. For social elements with no

realistic prospect of meaningful political participation, a military examiuation degree

functioned as both a state-sanctioned status marker and a symbol of martial prowess,

both of which potentially upheld a cardinal Confucian virtue-loyalty to the ruler.
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Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (규장각한국학연구원)Korean Culture (한국문화) Korean Culture (한국문화) vol.51 (2010)
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