“Patriotism Begins with a Love of Courtyard”: Rescaling Charismatic Landscapes in North Korea

Robert Winstanley-Chesters

Resum

Moments of developmental commemoration seem acutely important within the political articulations of North Korea. National Tree Planting day and other days in which political institutions engage with the nation’s landscapes and topographies are seen as vital with Pyongyang’s narrative of political charisma and theatrics. Sometimes elements of these articulations and campaigns appear with a distinct local or historical focus, and whose narrative subjectivity seems somewhat removed from the grander or more contemporary political thematics.

This paper seeks to engage and consider with these possibly more abstract and diffuse moments of political narrative, utilising a methodological framework supported by the work of Heonik Kwon and Byung-ho Chung and their reconsideration of Clifford Geertz and Max Weber’s analysis on the place of charisma and theatre within political interactions, by Denis Cosgrove and Noel Castree in their articulation of landscape and terrain as symbolic and socially or politically constructed and finally by recent reconfigurations of the nature and utility of the scale as process from the work of Geographers such as Neil Smith and  Erik Swyngedouw.

In particular the paper encounters the courtyard of a Mr Ri Song-ryong and his family and a number of other participants and terrains within North Korea’s political narratives and campaigns. With methodologies and conceptual structures in mind it analyses the substructures and transformative powers present in these political-social manifestations, assessing the impact on landscape and terrain and the utilities of scale, scaling and re-scaling in the transference of charisma from one temporality or terrain to another. 

 

Paraules clau

North Korea, Charismatic Politics, Political Geographies, Scale, Constructed Landscapes

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Copyright (c) 2015 Robert Winstanley-Chesters
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