Exhibiting Capitalism: The Chosŏn Expositions and the Construction of Economic Selves (69933)

Session Information: Korean Studies
Session Chair: Sangwon Shin

Sunday, 21 May 2023 14:55
Session: Session 3
Room: Room 704
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

This study presents an account of the exhibitions at the Chosŏn Expositions of 1915 and 1929. We examine the construction of economic agents during the Japanese occupation period (Eckert, 2003) with reference to the growing literature of market studies (Muniesa, Millo, & Callon, 2007). The study traces how these exhibitions can be construed as political and economic apparatuses for economisation (Çalışkan & Callon, 2010) via Foucauldian archaeology (Foucault, 1970) of material and discursive artefacts. The study investigates the construction of modern/semi-modern Koreans as economic agents through the exhibition of 1915 and its preparation. The Exposition of 1915 was where many colonial Koreans –who were yet familiar with modernity– first encountered modern spectacles. The exhibitions presented not only economising devices such as financial products and statistics but also quasi-actants such as capitalistic cultures. The Exposition of 1929 was to legitimise the governmentality of the Japanese empire by exhibiting how colonial Korea had been modernised. We focus on the process of Koreans transforming themselves into economised bodies, through which the process of colonisation was achieved. Theoretically, the study seeks to investigate how the market studies perspective can be converged with the Foucauldian notion of governmentality (Foucault, Burchell, Gordon, & Miller, 1991). We argue that the material and discursive arrangements of the exhibitions exerted positive influences than disciplinary powers on the people of Chosŏn. They were not unilaterally structured by overwhelming forces of modernisation but instead resisted and actively embraced the modernity interacting with economic devices, while governance at a distance was enacted.

Sangwon Shin, Inje University, South Korea
Ban Lee, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Sangwon Shin is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Inje University in South Korea

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00