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North Korea
Markets and Military Rule


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  • Author: Hazel Smith, University of Central Lancashire, Preston
  • Date Published: April 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521897785

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About the Authors
  • In this historically grounded, richly empirical study of social and economic transformation in North Korea, Hazel Smith evaluates the 'marketization from below' that followed the devastating famine of the early 1990s, estimated to be the cause of nearly one million fatalities. Smith shows how the end of the Cold War in Europe and the famine brought radical social change to all of North Korean society. This major new study analyses how marketization transformed the interests, expectations and values of the entire society, including Party members, the military, women and men, the young and the elderly. Smith shows how the daily life of North Koreans has become alienated from the daily pronouncements of the North Korean government. Challenging stereotypes of twenty-five million North Koreans as mere bystanders in history, Smith argues that North Koreans are 'neither victims nor villains' but active agents of their own destiny.

    • An accessible, comprehensive and empirical study of North Korea
    • Charts the history of North Korea from the colonial period to today
    • Challenges conventional western assumptions about North Korea
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    • Winner, 2017 IBP Teaching Tool Accolade in Humanities, International Convention of Asia Scholars

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Hazel Smith's data-driven tour de force convincingly demolishes the cartoonish image of North Korea held by most outsiders, including senior policymakers in the West.' Robert M. Hathaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC

    'A timely and insightful analysis of the post-Cold War transformation of the North Korean society.   This book challenges the stereotypes of many outside observers of North Korean affairs  and provides important policy implications.' Yoon Young-Kwan, Seoul National University, and former Foreign Minister of Republic of Korea

    'As an antidote to demonization the powerful impact of Hazel Smith's thought forces one to look at North Korea not as a pariah, but as a country struggling to pull itself out of international isolation.' Donald P. Gregg, former US Ambassador to South Korea and Chairman Emeritus of The Korea Society in New York

    'North Korea is a no-nonsense book. The wealth of documents and statistics does much to buttress the analysis, and it is as good as any English-language book in providing an overview of contemporary North Korea. Smith's analysis of the pre-famine, Kim Ilsungist period is well grounded and clear sighted as she pays due attention to the historical, organizational, and ideological factors that molded the robust system.' John Lie, Cross-Currents

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521897785
    • length: 394 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: North Korea: politics, economy and society
    Part I. Jettisoning Caricatures: Understanding History:
    1. Beyond the clichés
    2. National identity
    Part II. The Rise and Fall of Kim Il Sungism:
    3. Colonial occupation and the rise of Kim Il Sung
    4. War-fighting as state-building
    5. 'Socialism in our own style'
    6. Sisyphus as economic model
    7. Social stratification in the workers' state
    8. Famine and the end of Kim Il Sungism
    Part III. Marketisation and Military Rule:
    9. Marketisation from below
    10. Military rule from above
    11. The marketisation of well-being
    12. The marketisation of the social structure
    13. Going nuclear
    14. Strategic paralysis
    15. North Koreans as agents of change

  • Author

    Hazel Smith, University of Central Lancashire, Preston
    Hazel Smith is Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies at the University of Central Lancashire.


    • Winner, 2017 IBP Teaching Tool Accolade in Humanities, International Convention of Asia Scholars

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