The Dictatorship of Capital: Urban Redevelopment and the Democracy of the Have-Nots in Post-Authoritarian South Korea
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918
Hae Yeon Choo, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
This talk examines the relationship between democratic citizenship, capitalist profit-making, and violence. In particular, it focuses on an evictee protest against urban redevelopment in Yongsan, South Korea in 2009, resulting in a fatal police raid. Based on the parliamentary hearings, court documents, and oral history from protesters in the aftermath of what has been called the Yongsan disaster, Hae Yeon Choo delves into how evictee protesters theorize the conditions of displacement and exclusion from urban space and citizenship as “the dictatorship of capital.” Situating the Yongsan Disaster in the socio-political context of South Korea, Hae Yeon Choo calls attention to the social movement legacy of evictee movements and their increasing isolation and unexpected revitalization in post-authoritarian South Korea. By examining the voices of evictee activists, this article sheds light on the limits of formal democracy and the vision of radical democracy based on the politics of “the have-nots.”
Hae Yeon Choo is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and is a 2018-2019 Deutsche Bank Member of Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ). She is the author of Decentering Citizenship: Gender, Labor, and Migrant Rights in South Korea (Stanford University Press, 2016), a comparative study of three groups of Filipina women in South Korea: factory workers, wives of South Korean men, and hostesses at American military camp town clubs. Her current research project examines the politics of land ownership in contemporary South Korea, delving into macro-level political contestations over land rights, together with the narratives of people who pursue class mobility through real estate speculation. She has also translated Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider and Patricia Hill Collins’s Black Feminist Thought into Korean.
Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Academy of Korean Studies