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Establishing a Pluralist Society in Medieval Korea, 918-1170: History, Ideology, and Identity in the Koryŏ Dynasty

Publisher: , 2010
Link to online store *

This book offers no less than a radically different view of the Koryŏ state. Until now scholarship failed to recognize the complicated historical descent, byzantine international relations and multiple incommensurable worldviews of the early Korean Koryŏ state (918-1170). Instead, it subjected these to reductionist categories favouring reified particulars over broader views. Asking how Koryŏ meaningfully dealt with its environment, Remco Breuker rejects the reduction of Koryŏ intellectual abundance to analytical categories, and emphasizes the functional importance of Koryŏ’s pluralism in allowing the notion that realities were scattered, inconsistent and plural.

Here is a convincing argument that Koryŏ’s pluralism decisively contributed to the formation of a region-transcending communal identity that enabled Koryŏ to engage in a civilizational competition with neighbouring Chinese and Manchurian states, while maintaining a dynamic but stable society domestically.

Remco E. Breuker, Ph.D. (2006) in Korean History, Leiden University, works on medieval Korean and Northeast Asian history and historiography. He has published extensively on Koryŏ history including Forging the Truth: Creative Deception and National Identity in Medieval Korea (2009).

Source: publisher’s website


  1. Collective Names And Designations
  2. A Historic Territory In Koryo
  3. Shared Ideas Of Descent
  4. Tracing Legitimation
  5. The Koryo Ruler, Common Focus Of Obedience And Worship
  6. Koryo Diplomacy
  7. Pluralist Literati In Koryo
  8. The Origins Of Koryo Pluralism
  9. The Oldest Extant History And The Perpetuation Of A Pluralist Past In Shared Memories And Histories
  10. The Ten Injunctions
  11. Myoch’Ong’s Challenge: The Bid For The ‘Impossible Good’

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