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Gender, Labor, Emotion and Moment of Political Awakening -A Study on Life and Activities of Female Socialist Chung Chil - sung

Roh Jiseung 1

1인천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the capitalized Joseon Dynasty under the Japanese colonial rule, most Gisaengs (female entertainers) were waiting for men who would save them from financial distress, but others chose to seize the opportunity imposed by the modern times and capitalization to transform their lives. Socialist Jung Chil-sung was one of those who utilized such opportunity to transform themselves through political awakening. The political awakening of Chung Chil-sung was the result of two factors-the historical occasion of the March 1st movement and her personal labor experience as Gisaeng. The March 1st movement was not only a colossal political incident externally manifested in nationalism and but also an occasion which educed the microscopic anger of a woman named Chung Chil-sung. In the early capitalist society, women with jobs were forced to play not only vocational tasks but also to subject themselves to emotional roles of being obedient and generous. In other words, those early career women suffered feelings such as anger, shame and humiliation, when they were defenselessly exposed to gender hierarchy and gender power in the public sphere. As shown in the case of Chung Chil-sung, these emotions led to a certain political awakening. The political awakening through the labor experience and emotional problems was the fact that helped Chung Chil-sung have a concrete and realistic understanding about the issue of women’s economic dependence unlike other female socialists. But, although socialism was relatively the most appropriate language to explain Chung Chil-sung’s experience, what she experienced contained several elements that cannot be explained by the elite socialist language. Therefore, her life paradoxically proved the need of lower-class women’s lives to be divided and registered as a new emotion and to be politically visualized.

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