Anthropological Studies on Sustainability of Cultural Practice Negotiating National Ideology in Korean Society

Research Project , Research Report 2007

Hiroshi HONDA Associate Professor of Korean Studies, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology,The University of Tokyo

Abstract

Among the immigrants from urban to rural areas in South Korea who have increased after the Financial Crisis in 1997, those who settled in Sannae Disrict of Namw?n City are distinguishable in the sense that few of them have given up their second life in the area while immigrants are continuously flowing in until today. In Sannae, a free school in which they learn methods of organic farming and ecological way of life, a farm where they practice and embody these methods, and non-political organizations established for the welfare of the local residents help them to form a community of practice through which they learn how to live in harmony with natural environments and create their autonomous ways of life and identities. Whether their community of practice, which is motivated by their reflexive self-examination of their previous way of life as the Korean new urban middle class, which was an outcome of the rapid economic growth since the 1960’s, could be a real alternative to a more or less uniformed way of Korean urban life, could also be a challenge to neo-liberalistic regime of South Korea.

Keywords:

South Korea, immigrants to rural areas, alternative way of life, community of practice, Financial Crisis in 1997