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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Ancestor Rites and Capitalist Industrialization in a South Korean Village

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2002, v.42 no.4, pp.298-328
Roger Janelli

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Abstract

The Mass media in contemporary South Korea has frequently pointed toan allegedly rising individualism or pursuit of self-interest, oftenattributing this development to capitalist industrialization. More recent-ly, however, other social theorists have argued that such views are theresult of nostalgic idealizations of former rural ways of life.This article looks at transformations of ancestor rites and kinshipties over the past 25 years among residents of a formerly rural agricul-tural village that underwent rapid industrialization. A comparison ofthe authors observations and experiences in the early 1970s with thoseof the 1990s, challenges the conventional view of rising individualismand self-interest in contemporary South Korea. Rather than a change infundamental values, the appearance of rising individualism or self-interest is perhaps due to newer associations not morally sanctioned byConfucian or older cultural norms and the relative weakness of newercapitalist legitimating ideologies in contemporary South Korea.

keywords
capitalism ancestor rites industrialization social trans-formation individualism kinshipSouth Koreas recent transformation from an agricultural to anindustrial and capitalistic way of life is often thought to havebrought about increasing indivi capitalism ancestor rites industrialization social trans-formation individualism kinshipSouth Koreas recent transformation from an agricultural to anindustrial and capitalistic way of life is often thought to havebrought about increasing indivi

Korea Journal