Bipolar Orders

The Two Koreas Since 1989

By Hyung Gu Lynn  

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North Korea has experienced severe economic deterioration and increasing international isolation, while South Korea has undergone democratization and witnessed the emergence of a vibrant consumer culture. Paradoxically, this growing gap in ideologies and material standards led to improved relations between the two countries. Why has this counterintuitive development occurred? Is north Korea really a threat, and if so, for whom? Amidst the recent tendency to repackage the last embers of the cold War as a potential frontline for the “war on terror,” this book provides a substantive, accessible and timely examination of the complex and compelling histories of the two Koreas.

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  • Introduction
  • Democratization and Anti-Americanism in South Korea
  • Capitalism and Consumerism in South Korea
  • Political Isolation of North Korea
  • Economic Decline of North Korea
  • Representations in Popular Culture of South and North
  • North Korea and South Korea in the World
  • Conclusions
  • Notes
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Index


  • Hyung Gu Lynn

    University of British Columbia

    Hyung Gu LYNN is the AECL/KEPCO Chair in Korean Research at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver, Canada. He is also an Associate Editor for the journal Pacific Affairs. Prior to joining the IAR in January 2002, he held positions in the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo, Japan), and the English Literature Department, Hanyang University (Seoul, Korea). He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his MA and BA from the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the 20th century histories of Korea and Japan, on topics that include: state and society in colonial Korea; migration and colonialism; political economy of post-1965 ROK-Japan relations; globalization; popular culture; clothing and visuality in Korea and Japan; Japanese business history; comparative colonialism; and epistemologies of the humanities and the social sciences.

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