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  • wrinklebump
  • Expert Waygook

    • 717

    • March 20, 2012, 01:31:12 pm
    • Ulsan, Korea via Detroit, Michigan
Re: Differences in how Korean's act within each Province?
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2013, 07:00:10 pm »
I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there are differences.
but there are differences in culture and behavior between the provinces and there always have been.

That your stance has hardened so quickly suggests that some discoveries have been recent indeed or that you weren't orginally so confident in your current position. It is ultimately not consequential to the argument at hand, but I thought it worth noting anyway.

To the point, I am not suggesting, nor have I suggested, that Korea was not historically divided. Nor are your lengthy, vituperative scrawlings on dictatorial favorites Gyeongsang and Gyeonggi being contested, although they probably should be. I've also conceded that there are indeed differences between the provinces, but they are decidedly small, especially when compared to other nations with distinct intranational subcultures and their concordant observable characteristics. But you can assume I know nothing in this regard, it matters little as it is inessential to the point: do Koreans act differently between the provinces?

What are the obvious differences in Korean behavior? What is something identifiably different about the cultures, and the cultural behavior in Jeonju and Gyeongju? It takes something like the Roman empire to produce noticable, unique behavior patterns as manifested in the culture of any given area within a modern nation-state.

Curiously, you're beginning to argue that the country is falling apart at its provincial seams but there is just precious little evidence, statistical, anecdotal or otherwise to support this. As I noted previously the generation gap seems to be a much stronger force dividing the country. But you purport to know some facts, so I could conceivably be moved to support your postulations if I were to encounter something resembling a proof.

The thing about the centralization and nationalization of the culture during the dictatorship is that it worked. It was as an excercise in nation-building phenomenally successful, virtually without precedent. Consider the following: do many Koreans define themselves by their provincial origin, or by their nationality? Is not a Jeolla-ite (Jeollazen? Jeollan? Jeollagander?) first and foremost a Korean? I can't claim to answer that question definitively but I've encountered no reason to suspect otherwise.

The cosmetic surgery fad serves as an example of Korea's particularly national culture, as it is a stunning example, in terms of the number of people who do it, of a easily recognizable behavior. It's completely germane to a discussion about how similar or different Koreans act.

Edits: I can haz spelling?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:55:19 pm by wrinklebump »
Livin in a pathetic epidemic with schizophrenics buyin synthetic bodies on credit

Re: Differences in how Korean's act within each Province?
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2013, 12:11:22 am »
My position has solidified because arguing/debating clarifies and strengthens faith in one's convictions-- there are numerous studies on this. Also, because I've done a lot more reading on Korean regionalism than I had at the start.

The differences between the regions are in this post, my last post and the first two pages of the thread. There are probably more.

I never claimed the country was pulling apart at the seams-- I claimed that regional divides that have always existed are coming to the fore in a way that they haven't been in the last couple of decades-- which makes sense, because they're further and further from dictatorship.

No evidence? Take a look at this series:

Or this op-ed in the Korea times:

this scholarly paper:

or this:

or these threads on dialects:

or this article on regional cuisine:

or these threads on regional divides:

Two things:
1) The way that Koreans talk about Korea with you, a foreigner, is bound to be different than the way they discuss it amongst themselves. The same way that depending on who I'm talking to here and their level of familiarity with US geography, I'm American, from New York, from New England, from Boston, from Western MA, or from right outside [town]. Your mere presence in the conversation creates an implicit comparison between East and West. In some way, both of you are acting as ambassadors for your countries, which involves a lot of generalizing and reduction/compression. Do you think that when Koreans discuss their country, they anchor themselves in the conversation merely as (South) Korean? That's preposterous. What do you think the likelihood of your coworkers thinking you know or care about Korean regionalism is? How have you generalized/simplified your own country in order to talk about it with your co-teachers and students?

Perhaps think of it this way: when at home in your own country, what do you say when people ask where you're from? If someone mistakenly assumes you're from the opposite side of the country-- do you correct them? Why do you correct them?

2) The fact that other countries have bigger differences doesn't mean that Korea doesn't have any. The fact that Korea has national trends doesn't mean that it doesn't have regional divides, and while looking at how a national trend mutates in the individual regions could be productive, IMO, plastic surgery is a bad case study because it's so closely tied to wealth. Besides, if you look at the table (, you see that the next three countries are Greece, Italy, and Brazil. Does this table also testify to their relative cultural homogeneity?
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 01:56:52 am by sunshinefiasco »