Otherisation and Polarisation in the Korean Peninsula: North Korean Defectors and Korean Protestant Churches
Citation:HONG, CHANGHYUN, Otherisation and Polarisation in the Korean Peninsula: North Korean Defectors and Korean Protestant Churches, Trinity College Dublin.School of Religion, 2021
Changhyun Hong PhD Thesis (2021).pdf (PDF) 2.655Mb
This thesis deals with the relationship between North Korean defectors and the South Korean Protestant churches in light of Emmanuel Levinas' philosophy. North Korean defectors who stay in the South experience significant otherisation and polarisation in their engagement with the Korean Protestant churches. The Protestant churches, as the second-largest resource provider to the defectors after the government, actively welcome them. However, the churches approach the defectors to achieve a missional agendum, particularly to convert them to Christianity, and use them as anti-communist activists. Intentionally or unintentionally, the churches create a hierarchical relationship where the beneficiary is at the mercy of the benefactor churches, and this inevitably leads to the seizing of the defectors into the logic of the churches. This thesis examines how defectors are exposed to otherisation and polarisation through the churches' attitudes, particularly hospitality. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the thesis reveals that the defectors are situated in the church-centric relation. To survive in the South, the defectors are forced to erase their own unique subjectivity and assimilate into the dominant narrative of the South. In addition, the churches achieve their politicised missional agenda by utilising the defectors as a propaganda tool. The churches, as the powerful subject, treat the defectors from the church-centred perspective that subjects them to ontological violence. This thesis also explores how the churches can transform their attitudes towards the defectors in order to avoid otherising and polarising them. Levinas' philosophical idea of hospitality is suggested as a way to overcome the limitations of church-centric hospitality. Levinas' hospitality which is based on Other-centredness seeks to establish an ethical relation that welcomes the alterity and otherness of the Other and takes responsibility for the Other's needs. Following Levinas' idea, the churches' authentic hospitality lies not only in welcoming the defectors' subjectivity but also participating in the political struggle to emancipate the defectors from the gaze of abhorrence and the oppressive social structure of the South.
Author: HONG, CHANGHYUN
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Religion. Irish School of Ecumenics
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available
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