An ingenious prescription for building a new Korean nation and avoiding Germany’s mistakes. In this objective account, conceptually critical and politically neutral, Grinker shows how Korea’s myth of homogeneity obstructs a clear understanding of the reality of heterogeneity, and we discover how useful a cultural analysis of unification can be.
This remarkable book by a respected anthropologist gives insight into a troubled land. With scant knowledge, Americans fought one way and nearly fought another over this faraway place. Grinker’s work provides a window on Korean daily life, families, politics, and prospects for unification. The insights provided here are timely and valuable.
Grinker’s anthropological eye brings us a bold intervention in the policy literature on Korean division and unification. Grinker’s is a rare work — one that champions symbolic, structural and psychoanalytic analyses, but comes full circle to pressing policy concerns…doing what anthropology does best, he disrupts “common sense” and calls our attention to silences. Grinker’s anthropological views and vistas — in a field so dominated by the lens of political science and politics — are not only deft and interesting; they convince us that those who care about the healthy future of the Koreas must consider division and unification as cultural systems that define, as Grinker argues, what it means to be Korean.