This timely, pathbreaking study of North Korea's political history and culture sheds invaluable light on the country's unique leadership continuity and succession. Leading scholars Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung begin by tracing Kim Il Sung's rise to power during the Cold War. They show how his successor, his eldest son, Kim Jong Il, sponsored the production of revolutionary art to unleash a public political culture that would consolidate Kim's charismatic power and his own hereditary authority. The result was the birth of a powerful modern theater state that sustains North Korean leaders' sovereignty now to a third generation. In defiance of the instability to which so many revolutionary states eventually succumb, the durability of charismatic politics in North Korea defines its exceptional place in modern history.
Heonik Kwon is professorial senior research fellow at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and previously taught social anthropology at the London School of Economics. Author of several prize-winning books, including Ghosts of War in Vietnam and The Other Cold War, he currently directs the international project "Beyond the Korean War," which investigates the history and memory of the Korean War in local and global contexts. Byung-Ho Chung is professor of cultural anthropology and director of the Institute for Globalization and Multicultural Studies at Hanyang University, South Korea. He has visited North Korea as well as China's borders with North Korea on numerous occasions for humanitarian purposes. He also has conducted research into issues and concerns relating to the educational and social integration of North Korean refugees in South Korea.
Introduction Chapter 1: The Great National Bereavement, 1994 Chapter 2: Modern Theater State Chapter 3: The Barrel of a Gun Chapter 4: Graves of Revolutionary Martyrs Chapter 5: Gifts to the Leader Chapter 6: Moral Economy Conclusion