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In the Name of the People: Disagreeing over Peoplehood in the North and South Korean Constitutions

  • Justine GUICHARD (a1)

Abstract

As modern constitutions speak in the name of the people, they contribute to constituting the body politic by making potentially contentious claims about its members’ identity, rights, and duties. Focusing on the North and South Korean Constitutions, this article examines the claims about peoplehood articulated in both texts since their concurrent adoption in 1948. The analysis argues that these claims are irreducible to the North and the South competing over two ideologically antagonistic conceptions of the body politic—a rivalry supposedly embodied in and magnified by their constitutions’ use of differentiated terms to designate the people: inmin and kungmin. Instead, these categories should be seen in light of their synchronic commonalities in the North and South Korean Constitutions as well as diachronic transformations throughout the successive versions of each text, revealing that constituting the people has been less a matter of conflict between both Koreas than within each.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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2016–2017 Moon Family Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their stimulating comments, as well as Chulwoo Lee for his invaluable suggestions and corrections. All remaining errors are solely my own.

Footnotes

References

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Primary Sources
In Korean
The South Korean Ministry of Government Legislation (MOLEG) makes available original Korean versions of the texts on which this article relies:
∙ The texts adopted by the Provisional Government of the ROK can be consulted online at <http://www.law.go.kr/lsSc.do?menuId=0&subMenu=3&query=대한민국임시> (last accessed 8 April 2016).
∙ The texts adopted by the ROK can be consulted online at <http://www.law.go.kr/lsSc.do?menuId=0&subMenu=2&query=대한민민국헌법> (last accessed 8 April 2016).
∙ The texts adopted by the DPRK can be consulted online at <http://world.moleg.go.kr/KP/law/23273?astSeq=582> (last accessed 8 April 2016).
∙ The original version of the National Security Act and its subsequent revisions can be consulted online at <http://www.law.go.kr/lsSc.do?menuId=0&p1=&subMenu=1&nwYn=1&section=&tabNo=&query=국가보안법> (last accessed 9 April 2016).
In addition, the 1 March 1919 Declaration of Independence can be consulted online at <https://ko.wikisource.org/wiki/3. 1독립선언서> (last accessed 7 April 2016).
In English
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