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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Sunday, April 30, 2006

common people's party

The Jinbonuri discussion board has very little interesting stuff to read nowadays when it's long since big calibre contributors like Jin Jung-gwon have left for greener pastures long time ago.
This one is no gem of commentary but an interesting piece nevertheless, throwing in social categories, political parties, Park Chung-hee, and small businesses. These sentiments are not entirely unfamiliar from my own time among the neighborhood shopkeepers, among whom GNP was clearly most favored (but there were even DLP voters).
Name: Self-employed (2006-04-29 18:48:04, Hit : 43, 추천 : 5)
Topic: Fools who support DLP despite of not having secure jobs


The reason why ordinary people (seomin) vote Grand National Party - because GNP still is still their party.

Think about it. Did Park Chung-hee improve the life of the common people? Did Roh Moo-hyun or Kwon Yeong-gil improve the life of the common people?

Our Open Party is for political idlers (kôndal), and Democratic Labor Party is for the labor aristocracy with guaranteed jobs
Those who are not political idlers but support OOP, and those who aren't labor aristocracy but support DLP are pitiful beings

Try selling odeng on the street for two months. You'll see which party is good for the common people. They say you naturally end up voting GNP. [Punctuation original, translation AL]


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Comments to note "common people's party" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous kotaji> said on 2.5.06 : 

It is interesting ideologically that the petite bourgeoisie are commonly identified with the common people/ordinary people even though they only make up a small minority of the population of most countries. This has long been the case in the UK - there's the old phrase that 'Britain is a nation of shopkeepers', although if that were true the majority of the population would be of South Asian origin...

Perhaps in Korea, like most developing / semi-developed countries the petite bourgeoisie, and particularly its lower end in the milieu of street vendors and hustlers, makes up a larger proportion of the population than it does in Europe or the US. But the reality is that their identification and self-identification as the core of the common people is largely ideological and mistaken - in the Korean context the new working class of irregular workers would make a much better candidate for the role of sOmin / common people.

To my mind this identification of the petite bourgeoisie with the common people is a sort of useful displacement of reality within bourgeois ideology. It means that the ideals of the bourgeoisie (individualism, self-reliance, competition, private property, wealth accumulation) can be promoted and naturalised, while simultaneously being given a slightly egalitarian, non-elite gloss.


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