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North Korea’s Social Structure and Subject, Focusing on Lacan’s ‘The unconscious is the Discourse of Others’

  • Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Abbr : JAPS
  • 2022, 29(1), pp.5-28
  • DOI : 10.18107/japs.2022.29.1.001
  • Publisher : Institute of Global Affairs
  • Research Area : Social Science > Social Science in general
  • Received : February 7, 2022
  • Accepted : March 20, 2022
  • Published : March 30, 2022

Lee, HyunJoo 1 Chae, Intaek 2

1남북한사회심리연구소
2중앙일보

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to understand the behavioral patterns of North Koreans through Lacan’s theory of desire. For this purpose, I tried to examine the North Korean subject and the big Other, focusing on Lacan’s ‘The unconscious is the discourse of the Other’. Lacan believed that the unconscious is formed by the knowledge of the big Other and the social and linguistic structures that operated it. Therefore, in the sense that all desires are formed by the unconscious, even if they are personal, they become the desires of others. Therefore, we present a methodology that considers the characteristics of the social subject by examining the knowledge of the big Other and the linguistic structure that operates it. The power framework that operates the knowledge and language system of North Korea can be said to be the Kim Il-sung unique ideology system. Therefore, the North Korean leader can be seen as Lacan’s big Other. The robustness of the North Korean system, which is not shaken by economic difficulties, can be seen as a result of blocking external language and maintaining a social structure centered on the big Other. In 1974, when Kim Jong-il formalized the Juche ideology as Kim Il-sungism, the absolutism of the Suryong, the brainchild of socio-political living beings, began. ‘socio-political life’ is a life devoted to the system and leader, not the subject. Therefore, it can be seen as alienation of the subject. In order to escape from the alienation of the subject, it is to recognize the difference between the big Other and one’s own desires. However, while the knowledge and language of North Korea’s Kim Il-sung unique ideology system is maintained, the subject can not escape from the desire of the other, which is formed by the unconscious. This study approaches from a differentiated perspective by examining the way the specific forms of knowledge and power suggested by Foucault and Gramsci operate in the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, focusing on the social structure of the Great Other.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.