Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation

2 11 2009

Divided Korea_Roland Bleiker's bookDivided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation by Roland Bleiker

* Pub. Date: March 2005
* Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
* Format: Hardcover, 224pp
* Series: Borderlines Ser.
* ISBN-13: 9780816645565
* ISBN: 0816645566


Realist approaches to security concerns on the Korean continent are inadequate means to promote peace, argues Roland Bleiker (Peace Studies and Political Theory, University of Queensland, Australia), because they fail to recognize that the construction of national identities lies at the root of the ongoing crises in the region. The legacy of the Korean War has led to a situation in which state forces on both sides sought to legitimize themselves by demonizing their archenemies on the other side of the demilitarized zone. Bleiker believes that the promotion of dialogue and nonstate contacts and a process of reconciliation that recognizes the real differences that will likely persist past reunification can overcome this political manipulation of identity and difference, as is demonstrated by the case of the reunification of Germany. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

From the Publisher

…Few international conflicts are as volatile, protracted, or seemingly insoluble as the one in Korea, where mutual mistrust, hostile Cold War attitudes, and the possibility of a North Korean economic collapse threaten the security of the entire region. For Roland Bleiker, this persistently recurring pattern suggests profound structural problems within and between the two Koreas that have not been acknowledged until now. Expanding the discussion beyond geopolitics and ideology, Bleiker places peninsular tensions in the context of an ongoing struggle over competing forms of Korean identity. Divided Korea examines both domestic and international attitudes toward Korean identity, the legacy of war, and the possibilities for-and anxieties about-unification.

Divided Korea challenges the prevailing logic of confrontation and deterrence, embarking on a fundamental reassessment of both the roots of the conflict and the means to achieve a more stable political environment and, ultimately, peace. In order to realize a lasting solution, Bleiker concludes, the two Koreas and the international community must first show a willingness to accept difference and contemplate forgiveness as part of a broader reconciliation process.

Roland Bleiker is professor of international relations at the University of Queensland. From 1986 to 1988 he served as chief of office for the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom.



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