Once considered almost exclusively to be the domain of legal scholars, Joseon dynasty criminal law is recently attracting increasing attention from social, political and intellectual historians of Korea. Despite often reaching opposing conclusions on the characteristics of Joseon legal culture, historians and legal scholars share a strong focus on the dominating role of Confucian ideology. While acknowledging the importance of Confucianism for Joseon statecraft, this paper argues that in actual statecraft and the application of the law, this ideology was negotiated with the perceived needs of the state. The focus of analysis is the relationship between the judicial process—investigation, interrogation and punishment—and cosmological, ideological and cultural notions related to the body. The purpose is to show the tension between the state need to maintain the system and uphold social order (as defined by the state) and the need for the state itself to adhere to the basic principles of the ideology that underpinned this system. Addressing the role of law and punishment in statecraft, the analysis is based on a theoretical framework that combines a conflict-based understanding of society with one that is consensus-based. While on the one hand the violation of notions related to the body was the purport of punishment when dealing with the most severe crimes against the state and its ideology, we can also see how such notions influenced the discourses on penal benevolence, torture and exhumation, whilst partly constituting the reason why some forms of torture were prohibited.
Conventional accounts of the division of the Korean Peninsula at the 38th parallel north see the line as having been suddenly drafted for the convenience of the military on August 11, 1945. This narrative was based on oral testimony records of Brigadier General Lincoln, who headed the strategic planning unit under the U.S. joint special operations agency. Lincoln and his subordinates, Colonels Bonesteel and Rusk, testified that their decision was based on a <i>National Geographic</i> map, which was later discovered at the U.S. National Archives. Cartographic discrepancies, however, suggest that the August 11 accidental draft may be a deliberate cover-up for actual deliberations that had taken place earlier. Interviews with Lieutenant General Hull reveal that the idea of the 38th parallel line was created at an earlier date, around July 25, during the Potsdam Conference. The 38th parallel plan is therefore better interpreted as an outcome of U.S. decision-makers’ advance preparation, which began at a date no later than July 25. It was apparently based on political interest to prevent the Soviet Union’s southward advancement. While Hull’s memoir partly differs from the conventional U.S.-Soviet secret pact theory, it should be regarded as relevant, especially because he was the superior in position to the three individuals on whose testimony the conventional theories are based. The present study concludes that while the actual draft of the 38th parallel dividing line was confirmed and formulated to the superior authorities by Lincoln and others on August 11, the plan was devised earlier, around July 25.
The recent examples of the protests of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the Occupy Wall Street Movement have shown the potential for mobile communication devices and networks over the internet to be turned into potent tools for political mobilization and activism. In light of these developments, this article seeks to reinterpret the 2008 candlelight protests against the import of U.S. beef in South Korea to demonstrate the potential of mobile communication technology and internet-based networks as tools of political resistance in South Korea. The 2008 candlelight protests suggest that this form of political opposition fostered by the internet is a “leaderless” opposition in that it lacks a central hierarchical leadership. The candlelight protests was a ‘multitude’ composed of various different participating groups that lacked a single, unifying collective identity enforced by a leadership. In the absence of such a unifying collective identity, the common was constructed through communication across pre-existing networks on the internet. Furthermore, it was a ‘self-organizing’ movement that lacked a central organization directing action. The protesters, however, were able to execute coordinated resistance through ‘swarm intelligence’ which, again, relied on mobile communication devices and the internet to facilitate rapid communication between the participants. Finally, the candlelight protests, though fueled by numerous and various grievances against the Lee Myung-bak government, presented a coherent opposition to the Lee Myung-bak government. This analysis concludes that, while traditional political institutions seem to have dominated cyber-electioneering, the internet remains a space for potential political resistance in South Korea.
Zhu Xi (1130-1200 CE), the progenitor of the Song-dynasty Neo-Confucian school of “nature and principle,” postulates a mind that is uncoerced and undetermined by antecedent psychological and physical conditions, and ‘uncaused’ by external factors, meaning having a will that is not related in a uniform way to the agent’s character, motives and circumstances, in the pre-intentional and universal realm (weifa 未發) before actual feelings are aroused. In this sense his view on the freedom of the mind that is undetermined by antecedent causal factors resembles that of the advocates of the compatibility of free will and determinism, and perhaps even that of those arguing for libertarian free will. The theory of psycho-physical endowment or qizhi in Neo-Confucian literature is often misunderstood as a crude form of determinism, and is forwarded as sufficient evidence for denying the possibility of free agency in Neo-Confucian philosophy. However, if we follow Zhu Xi’s own arguments closely, we discover that the crux of his argument lies in the belief that human beings are able to act in accordance with the inherent moral principles that are present within (xing) however severe the impediments due to qizhi.