Preprint Articles

K-drama Narrates the National: Korean Identities in Crash Landing on You

Posted: 
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Summary: 

This article considers how a very popular South Korean TV drama, Crash Landing on You, both interprets and produces Korean identity through its imagining of the ‘national’. We draw on constructivist literature that explores the biographical parameters of national identity narratives and their significance in global politics to examine changing representations of North Korea on South Korean screens. We analyze Crash Landing as a set of representations that mirror South Korea’s construction of Korean national identit(ies), with real-world, sociopolitical consequences. We argue that nostalgic depictions of North Korea on screen situate it as the receptacle of a Korean past characterized by ruralness and intimate community life. In contrast, capitalist (post-)modernity is South Korea’s inescapable present, signifying its material victory over the North by virtue of its developmental successes. Finally, reunification is the future-oriented project that unites the divided biographical trajectories of both Koreas but remains materially elusive.

Evolution of EU-DPRK Interactions: From Engagement to Stalemate

Posted: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Summary: 

The article examines the European Union (EU)’s policy toward and interactions with North Korea (DPRK) in order to answer the question, “To what extent, despite prima facie ruptures in the relationship, has the EU been engaged with the DPRK, which is conventionally understood as an unreliable state.” Although the EU is seemingly inactive in North Korean affairs, yet it is a powerful institution that can play a significant role in the peacemaking process in Asia including on the Korean peninsula. This article explores, firstly, how the EU’s policy toward Asia has evolved historically; secondly, how far such an agenda and principles have been implemented in the North Korean context; and finally, the extent to which previous practices pave the way for the two parties to be included in the process of forming a kind of extended regional governance in future. A common view is that the EU’s strategical/political motivation for getting involved in North Korean affairs is negligible due to a lack of economic interests to counterbalance high political risks. This article highlights that, contrary to the common understanding of its soft issue-focused approach to Asia, the EU has been persistently engaged in DPRK affairs, notwithstanding the significant structural barriers. This role underpins the EU’s growing intention and potential to enhance interactions under the aegis of comprehensive security (third generation cooperation) covering the economic, social, cultural, and human security-focused aspects of the relationship.

Changing Frames: China’s Media Strategy for Environmental Protests

Posted: 
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Summary: 

In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has remained stable despite frequent popular protests. Focusing on environmental-related protests, we attempt to explain how the CCP has utilized domestic news media to deal with protests and ensure regime stability. We chose five major protests against Para-Xylene (PX) and analyzed all of the People’s Daily Online (PDO) articles thereon since 2007. From the Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping governments, PDO’s collective portrayal of the anti-PX protests has dramatically changed from a symbol of democratic progress to an impediment to national industrialization and social stability. The systematically orchestrated media framing demonstrates that, instead of indiscriminately suppressing information on protests, the party has deliberately chosen when and what to permit and what images to project onto the protests. This article provides new insights into the CCP’s media strategy for popular protest and sheds light on how China’s authoritarian regime has maintained political legitimacy and social stability despite a considerable level of public discontent and deepening political oppression.

The Benefit of the Wind: Testing the Rally Effect of North Korea Shocks during the Park Geun-hye Administration

Posted: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Summary: 

The “rally-’round-the-flag effect” sparked by North Korea (the so-called ‘Northern Wind’) has been an important part of South Korean domestic politics. Despite the long history and controversy associated with politics of Northern Wind, the literature provides surprisingly little quantitative evidence on this phenomenon. In this study, we empirically investigate the relationship between North Korean-induced incidents and former President Park Geun-hye’s weekly job approval ratings. Using vector autoregressions, we find that (1) President Park gained political benefits from North Korea, where negative events (e.g., armed attacks) generated a larger boost in approval than positive events (e.g., high-level talks); (2) rally effects varied across regions according to different perceptions of the North Korean regime: during security crisis, Park received the largest rallies in Gyeongnam province where the dominant image of North Korea was an ‘enemy that threatens our safety’; and (3) a test of nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) did not affect approval ratings even though it captured widespread media attention.

Sources of Corruption in Authoritarian Regimes: A Cross-country Panel Data Analysis

Author(s): 
Posted: 
Friday, May 13, 2022
Summary: 

This article examines the sources of corruption in authoritarian regimes, focusing on the effect of time variance on the level of corruption, personalist concentration of power, and the regime stability (ruler’s expectations for remaining in power). The Personalism Index developed by J. Wright and the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Corruption Index were used in order to construct the panel data covering 2001–2010 for fifty-eight authoritarian states. The empirical findings show that authoritarian regimes with a higher personalist concentration are more prone to corruption, and that short sighted and vulnerable authoritarian regimes are more corrupt. From a policy perspective, the results suggest that reinforcing institutions which can impose political restrictions on top leaders from arbitrarily allocating resources via rent-seeking can be effective in curbing corruption in authoritarian regimes. On the other hand, the results also indicate that an authoritarian leader with longer time horizon can implement the institutions which can improve economic performance, thus leading to lower levels of corruption.