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Korea, A Century of Change (review)

Korea, A Century of Change (review) tural rebellion," using the single case of a middle-aged widow who, possessed by her husband, foretells the death ("ritual murder" in Kim's prose) of her motherin-law. Insofar as the decrepit mother-in-law is, by Kim's description, already at the mercy of her daughter-in-law, the "rebellion" seems rather a waste of time. The rigidity of Kim's project is evident in his flat out refusal to acknowledge either changes over time or regional variation that would account for discrepancies between his work and my own, but these are both significant. From Kim's description, the Soy shaman deals primarily with troublesome ancestors, a view that permits Kim's emphasis of the dark and dangerous side of shamanic practice and omits the powerful gods who unblock troubled fortunes, bestow blessings, and provide often comic entertainment in the traditions of Seoul and North Korea. The transformation of these rituals into National Treasure entertainments is not the travesty that Kim implies in his final chapter. Somehow, in his brief Seoul fieldwork, he seems to have missed the distinction these shamans make between rituals to heal misfortune (like the one his motherin-law sponsored) and those intended to bring good luck. When he had trouble locating rituals and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Korean Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Korea, A Century of Change (review)

Korean Studies , Volume 27 (1)

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1529-1529
Publisher site
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Abstract

tural rebellion," using the single case of a middle-aged widow who, possessed by her husband, foretells the death ("ritual murder" in Kim's prose) of her motherin-law. Insofar as the decrepit mother-in-law is, by Kim's description, already at the mercy of her daughter-in-law, the "rebellion" seems rather a waste of time. The rigidity of Kim's project is evident in his flat out refusal to acknowledge either changes over time or regional variation that would account for discrepancies between his work and my own, but these are both significant. From Kim's description, the Soy shaman deals primarily with troublesome ancestors, a view that permits Kim's emphasis of the dark and dangerous side of shamanic practice and omits the powerful gods who unblock troubled fortunes, bestow blessings, and provide often comic entertainment in the traditions of Seoul and North Korea. The transformation of these rituals into National Treasure entertainments is not the travesty that Kim implies in his final chapter. Somehow, in his brief Seoul fieldwork, he seems to have missed the distinction these shamans make between rituals to heal misfortune (like the one his motherin-law sponsored) and those intended to bring good luck. When he had trouble locating rituals and

Journal

Korean StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

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