The Emotional Dimensions of North Korean Politics through the Lens of Historical Institutionalism

  • Kim, Hwajung (Institute for International and Area Studies from Ewha Womans University)
  • Published : 2022.12.31


This study explores the following research question to address issues linked to emotions, identity, and institutions: how has the cult (institution) of the three Kims affected North Koreans' strong sense of nationalism (emotion), which is based on their Juche ideology (identity)? This paper investigates four fundamental elements of historical institutionalism: time boundedness, path dependency, institutional changes, and the shadow of the past. First, time boundedness illustrates how culture and education have been used to build trust and loyalty in the general public to construct individual and family cults. Second, path dependence reveals how the Songbun system has resulted in strong nationalism throughout Rodongdang's institutionalization. Third, institutional changes highlight the significance of age divides, as different age groups do not always support the three Kims' cult. Finally, the shadow of the past helps us understand the primary processes for generating mass ardent nationalism in the form of powerful impulses for self-sacrifice.



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF2021S1A5B5A16078325).


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