The emergence of calculated nationalism in South Korea in the twenty-first century

Gil-Soo Han, David Hundt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter illustrates how and why ‘calculated nationalism’ has (re)emerged within South Korea. In the process of shifting from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft, South Koreans are increasingly finding their worth and value as the proprietors of their own tradeable skills and capacities. Koreans are becoming more individualized and this is reflected in their relations with the state. We begin with the definition of calculated nationalism and provide empirical evidence through a few major contemporary events such as the emergence of new Koreans and a response to the phenomenon. Ethnic nationalism is showing some signs of weakening as Koreans are increasingly paying attention to their personal gains. However, it resurfaces when they feel their economic interests are at stake due to the flux of newly settled Koreans. Similarly, Koreans have changed their views about the reunification of the Koreas and have become indifferent to it unless there are likely to be individual benefits. Also, through the Japanese trade provocations, Korean grassroots have been willing to protest against Prime Minister Abe, but not the Japanese in general, i.e., people’s diplomacy. Korean calculated nationalism demonstrates Korean commitment to the continuing promotion of national pride as well as individual gains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Nationalism in East and Southeast Asia
EditorsLu Zhouxiang
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781003111450
ISBN (Print)9780367629205, 9780367629212
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Cite this