“Politics of Desire”: Ruling Discourse and Mass Mobilization of the Park Chung Hee Regime

  • Byoung-joo Hwang


The Park Chung Hee period witnessed the formation of a fully fledged modern nation-state. As the nation-state colludes intimately with the process of capitalistic expansion and reproduction, the Park regime’s modernization project can also be summed up as an expansion of capitalism and construction of national subjectivity. While occupying different sociopolitical locations in society, farmers, workers, and university students were unitary subjects insofar as they were actively mobilized for the modernization project. This essay argues the state exercised both coercion and politics of consent in the mobilization process. The state’s developmentalism was conjoined with the people’s desire for a better life. The citizens were not merely passive followers of the state, but also enthusiastic participants in its mobilization drive. The Park regime was also an active practitioner of mass politics. The dominant state discourse of developmentalism and nationalism reappropriated the egalitarian pressure from below, making its politics not singularly of repression, but also of desire. Unlike the politics of discrimination of the premodern period, the Park regime pursued the nationalization of society and people by interpellating the disparate people into a unified national subjectivity.


Park Chung Hee Saemaeul undong Developmentalism Egalitarianism Mass politics Agrarian service movement 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byoung-joo Hwang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Korean HistoryGwacheon-siSouth Korea

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