THE THEORY ON THE STATE OF THE CHOSŎN RULING ELITES: HOW DID THEY PERCEIVE THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE STATE?

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Min Jung LEE

Abstract

This paper argues that it is necessary to analyze the identity of the ruling elite in the Chosŏn Dynasty through the nobles munbŏl 문벌(門閥) using the ideological methodology. The identity of the ruling elite in the Joseon Dynasty should be considered in relation to the state. In the first part of this paper, we review the existing studies on the relationship between the ruling elite and the state in Korea. The first group gives a view that the ruling class has autonomy from the state and has an identity outside the country. The second group of the studies shows that the ruling autonomous governments have encroached on the private sector. The third group are studies showing that the ruling class of the Chosŏn Dynasty structurally could not escape the domination of the state. Each of these studies pointed out important points in characterizing the ruling elites of the Chosŏn dynasty, yet they had some limitations because they lacked an ideological consideration of what their identity is fundamentally from. The second part of the paper presents how to overcome these limitations by insisting that the identity of the ruling class should be examined in relation to the state at that time through the issue of civilization.

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LEE, M. J. (2019). THE THEORY ON THE STATE OF THE CHOSŎN RULING ELITES: HOW DID THEY PERCEIVE THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE STATE?. International Journal of Korean Humanities and Social Sciences, 4, 107-126. https://doi.org/10.14746/kr.2018.04.04
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