The Division/ing Politics of Korea

Authors: Yeonhee Kim*,
Topics: Political Geography, Legal Geography
Keywords: Korean Division, Performativity, Liberalism, Police Power
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


According to Wendy Brown (2010), “liberalism seeks to split the supremacy from the autonomy, the power of the people from the action of the state. […] [Liberalism] disavows the inherently antidemocratic moment in the production of state autonomy and the incoherence for popular sovereignty that results.” Inspired by Brown’s perspective, this paper aims to address how liberalism is performed ideologically through the bordering practices enacted on the division of Korea. I argue that the foreclosure of social and political responsibilities shared by the nation-states that participated and perpetuated the security dilemma stemming from the Korean War simultaneously forecloses political inquiry on liberalism as a political ideology. It normalizes and moralizes the security (police) state on the Korean peninsula. Given that the performativity of borders unsettles the territorial and spatially static definition of borders, this paper examines how U.S. and South Korean military-diplomatic apparatus and police apparatus enact liberal governmentality that perpetuates war on the Korean peninsula.

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