Feb. 5: An Explorative Research on the Suspicious Study Trip to the “Eastern Bloc” (1989-1992)

For Biotope Salon on February 5, 2015, Jiyoon Kim shared the background, outline, and very preliminary findings of one of the case studies from her on-going PhD project, the study trip to the “Eastern Bloc” by South Korean university students from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. “Eastern Bloc” hereby indicates transforming socialist societies such as the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries, and China.

This organized group tour has once gained a great popularity among South Korean university students. It was a product of the era in transition. By tracing their trajectory, we can see how the international relations of post-cold war period and domestic political issues are intertwined in the individuals’ performance and their itineraries.

Although the program was planned to provide students the experience of the “real face” of socialist societies by using the binary cold-war ideological frame, ironically, the phenomenon and the individual encounters to their visiting societies reveal the transforming South Korean society at the moment, arguably a “dual face” of post-cold war globalism. One of the evidences can be the way that significant others appeared and are described.



(Jiyoon Kim, PhD student of the GSII, UTokyo)


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