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Social Darwinism and Nationalism in Korea: the Beginnings (1880s-1910s)

Publisher: , 2010
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

The book deals with the influences Social Darwinism exerted upon Korea’s modern ideologies in their formative period – especially nationalism – after its introduction to Korea in 1883 and before Korea’s annexation by Japan in 1910. It shows that the belief in the “survival of the fittest” as the overarching cosmic and social principle constituted the main underpinning for the modernity discourses in Korea in the 1890s-1900s. Unlike the dominant ideology of traditional Korea, Neo-Confucianism, which was largely promoted by the scholar-official elite, Social Darwinism appealed to the modern intellectuals, but also to the entrepreneurs, providing the justification for their profit-seeking activities as part of the “national survival” project. As an ideology of Korea’s nascent capitalism, Social Darwinism in Korea could, however, hardly be called a liberal creed: it clearly prioritized “national survival” over individual rights and interests.

Vladimir M. Tikhonov, Ph.D. (1996) in History, Moscow State University, is Professor of Korean/East Asian Studies at Oslo University. He has published extensively on Korean modern and Buddhist history including Selected Writings of Han Yongun (Global Oriental, 2008).

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* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.