The first book to explore the institutional, ideological, and conceptual development of the modern state on the peninsula, Rationalizing Korea analyzes the state’s relationship to five social sectors, each through a distinctive interpretive theme: economy (developmentalism), religion (secularization), education (public schooling), population (registration), and public health (disease control). Kyung Moon Hwang argues that while this formative process resulted in a more commanding and systematic state, it was also highly fragmented, socially embedded, and driven by competing, often conflicting rationalizations, including those of Confucian statecraft and legitimation. Such outcomes reflected the acute experience of imperialism, nationalism, colonialism, and other sweeping forces of the era.
Kyung Moon Hwang is a professor of history and East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Southern California. He is the author of A History of Korea: An Episodic Narrative and Beyond Birth: Social Status in the Emergence of Modern Korea and coeditor of Contentious Kwangju: The May 18 Uprising in Korea’s Past and Present.
Source: publisher’s website