Literary Autonomy in North Korea: Authority, Agency, and the Art of Control
Killough, Catherine Elizabeth
Cha, Victor D
What explains the absence of a popular uprising in a country that, despite isolation, has experienced an infiltration of information over the years; despite lethargy, has felt the emergence of class divisions; and, despite oppression, has seen a high number of citizens risk their lives to escape everyday? Given the existence of several conditions that raise the likelihood for civil unrest in North Korea, this paper highlights a shortcoming in prior theories on revolution. In particular, the North Korea case calls attention to an under-theorized constraint that citizens face when determining how to respond to oppression: literary autonomy. By this measure, the incidence of mass disobedience varies depending on 1) reader autonomy, the degree to which readers can gain access to literature, and 2) writer autonomy, the degree to which writers can disseminate written work. By underscoring the utility and significance of literary autonomy, the argument at present hopes to contribute to explanations for variation in civil discontent across authoritarian states. This paper not only complements and builds upon previous theories, but also promotes closer analysis of literary processes, which remain an understudied mechanism beyond the humanities.
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Enos, Olivia Catherine (Georgetown University, 2017)This paper seeks to answer core questions about the development of the informal economy. More specifically, it asks why the leadership in North Korea allows informal economic activities to continue despite the fact that ...