Urban heritage production in South Korea: a tale of two cities

Kim, Hee Joo (2022). Urban heritage production in South Korea: a tale of two cities. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The study addresses the production of urban heritage in South Korea by focusing on the historic cities of Jeonju and Gyeongju. Previous studies of South Korean heritage conservation have pointed out that development needs were frequently prioritised over conservation concerns. In a country characterised by rapid economic development and urbanisation this is not surprising however, the two case study cities have largely, successfully maintained their heritage resources, unlike the other cities in South Korea, based on the government-led conservation schemes.
Using strong government initiatives, Gyeongju and Jeonju, through a process of heritage commodification, have gained popularity amongst domestic and international tourists, but they have also experienced negative impacts as both heritage sites and tourist attractions. This thesis examines the range of impacts and issues that infiltrate the everyday lives of local communities in the two historic centres, which has included de-population, social discontent, economic challenges and a loss in community vitality and sense of place, that plays amongst locals and tourists.
To address these issues, I explore the discrepancy that exists among the key stakeholders in the case cities, particularly the national and city-based authorities, heritage professionals and the local communities. I investigate how the communities recognise their local heritage in the process of construction, reconstruction, and negotiation of ‘place.' The authorised heritage and its firm narratives can be seen to marginalise communities, but I demonstrate that what remains important are the more intangible practices and traditions of non-authorised heritage. These aspects of heritage are more closely attached to peoples’ everyday life and enhance the communities’ connection to place. Though a substantive body of literature advocates community involvement in heritage production, my work in both of the case sites, demonstrates that there is still an evident asymmetry in power relations at work. By using grounded theory, semi-structured, in-depth interviews and observational work, I examine the dialogues of the heritage production and management processes and identify how notions of community voice and empowerment still manage to surface and negotiate these processes. The thesis synthesises implications and attempts to seek improved ways to employ community empowerment approaches to the heritage management building on the idea that heritage is a medium for progressive social and economic change.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12415


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