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Viewpoints at Odds and New Interpretations Was the Late Joseon Dynasty a Pro-Lawsuit Society?

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2022, 79(3), pp.121-152
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.79.3.202208.121
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 16, 2022
  • Accepted : August 9, 2022
  • Published : August 31, 2022

CHON KYOUNGMOK 1

1한국학중앙연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The early founders who established the Joseon Dynasty tried to aim for a society without lawsuits by simplifying the litigation process. Nevertheless, lawsuits greatly increased in the late Joseon Dynasty. According to extant local governors’ diaries or lawsuit documents dating to the late or end of the Joseon Dynasty, handling such increased lawsuits became a headache for local governors. A Japanese researcher of oriental history has revealed that Chinese society during the Ming and Qing Dynasties was a prolawsuit society, in which people neither evaded nor avoided lawsuits. Recently, research proposing that people were not reluctant to file lawsuits in the late Joseon Dynasty has also come out. As an external phenomenon, there was indeed an increase in lawsuits in the late or end of the Joseon Dynasty. The most important reason for such increase in lawsuits, as revealed by the author, was a greater improvement in the consciousness of ownership, rights, and customs in the late Joseon Dynasty. Meanwhile, as a result of the greatly-increased lawsuits from the late Joseon Dynasty, attempts were made to simplify the litigation process or to delegate it to government employees. However, Confucianist government officials regarded the lawsuit as a process of edification instead of understanding it as a judicial procedure, so the suggestion of simplifying the litigation procedure or delegating it to local officials like hyangri or hyangso was rejected.

Citation status

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