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Division System in Crisis

From the publisher’s website:

Paik Nak-chung is one of Korea’s most incisive contemporary public intellectuals. By training a literary scholar, he is perhaps best known as an eloquent cultural and political critic. This volume represents the first book-length collection of his writings in English. Paik’s distinctive theme is the notion of a “division system” on the Korean peninsula, the peculiar geopolitical and cultural logic by which one nation continues to be divided into two states, South and North. Identifying a single structure encompassing both Koreas and placing it within the framework of the contemporary world-system, Paik shows how this reality has insinuated itself into virtually every corner of modern Korean life.

Paik Nak-chung is emeritus professor of English literature at Seoul National University and co-chair of the Korea Peace Forum.

“A remarkable combination of scholar, author, critic, and activist, Paik Nak-chung carries forward in our time the ancient Korean ideal of marrying abstract learning to the daily, practical problems of the here and now. In this book he confronts no less than the core problem facing the Korean people since the mid-twentieth century: the era of national division, of two Koreas, an anomaly for a people united across millennia and who formed the basic sinews of their nation long before European nation-states began to develop.”—From the foreword, by Bruce Cumings


Foreword to the English-Language Edition, by Bruce Cumings
Foreword to the Korean-Language Edition
Preface to the English-Language Edition


  1. Making the Movement for Overcoming the Division System a Daily Practice
  2. The Reunification Project in the “Age of the IMF”


  1. National Literature, the Division System, and Overcoming Modernity: Some Fragmentary Thoughts
  2. The Ecological Imagination in Overcoming the Division System
  3. The Culture of Reform and the Division System
  4. Habermas on National Unification in Germany and Korea
  5. The Possibility and Significance of a Korean Ethnic Community of the Twenty-First Century
  6. A Rejoinder to Kim Yong-he’s Critique of the Discourse of the Division System
  7. The Historical Significance of the June Uprising for Democracy and the Meaning of Its Tenth Anniversary
  8. Song Chongsan’s Proposals for State Building as a Doctrine for Reunification


  1. Korean-Style Reunification and Civic Participation: South Korea’s Civil Society as the “Third Party” on the Korean Peninsula
  2. Another Moment of Trial in Implementing the June 15 Joint Declaration
  3. Reflections on Korea in 2010: Trials and Prospects for Recovering Common Sense in 2011

Translators’ Postscript
Appendix A: Chronology of Inter-Korean Relations
Appendix B: Texts of Major Declarations and Statement; Mentioned in This Book

Entry on here.

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