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

The Significance of the Concept of Minjung and Changes Thereto: With a Focus on the 1920s

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2012, v.52 no.4, pp.60-83
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2012.52.4.60

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Abstract

The term minjung (people) as it started to be used during the 1920s in Korea was defined as the “indefinite majority or all members of the nation” or the “subjugated class.” However, the emergence of the socialist movement resulted in the meaning of minjung becoming one rooted in two stages. Minjung came to include varied meanings such as the “majority of the nation,” “political actors,” and the “illiterates and proletarians” in 1920-1921, and started to contain socialist notions of class by 1922-1923. Accordingly, cultural movement activists, who had interpreted minjung on both idealist and realist levels, began to discuss the term based on the social development theory, focusing on how to actualize socialist idealism under a colonial reality. To this end, socialists started to prefer the vanguard-based notion of daejung (public) from 1925 onwards. The use of the term daejung was further expanded in the 1930s.

keywords
minjung (people) daejung (public) socialist movement class vanguard

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