When truth is everywhere: the formation of plural identities in medieval Korea, 918-1170

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When truth is everywhere: the formation of plural identities in medieval Korea, 918-1170

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: When truth is everywhere: the formation of plural identities in medieval Korea, 918-1170
Author: Breuker, Remco Erik
Publisher: CNWS/Centre for Korean Studies, Faculty of Arts, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2006-12-19
Keywords: Historiography
Identity formation
Korea
Koryŏ
Pluralist ideology
Abstract: This thesis is an investigation into the formation of plural identities in the first half of the Koryŏ dynasty (918-1392). It focuses on processes of identity formation with both domestic and international reference. The Koryŏ dynasty was a rather extraordinary society, in which several important systems of belief and thought co-existed, but were not assimilated into each other. Koryo literati possessed a seldom encountered capacity for tolerating ambiguity, inconsistency and contradiction, while nonetheless displaying a distinctive sense of identity. The tolerance, even preference for ambiguity ensured in the long run the survival of the Koryo state amidst its powerful neighbours in China and Manchuria. This thesis concludes that despite the majority opinion in modern historiography Koryŏ was not either Confucian or Buddhist or nativist, but a mixture of all these systems and a good many more. The Koryŏ state and society were thoroughly pluralist, that is, geared to provide to the maximum of different, sometimes contradictory principles, instead of one ultimate principle. The thesis also concludes that pre-modern forms of community construction and the generation of feelings of belonging were not significantly different from their modern counterparts.
Description: Promotor: B.C.A. Walraven
With summary in Dutch
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Breuker, R.E., 2006, Doctoral thesis, Leiden University
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/5906
 

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