Let’s reclaim the ‘urban area’ of Seoul beyond the movement of capital


Seoul’s appearance
Poetics of Capitalist Urban Forms
Written by Naehee Kang l History of Culture and Science l 29,000 won

Although novelist Ho-Chul Lee already said that “Seoul is full” in the 1960s, until the early 1980s, it was largely a phenomenon limited to Gangbuk. It is said that the appearance of Seoul today, which has a round shape and a penetrating Hangang River, and is filled with various large artificial buildings mainly high-rise buildings, and other cities hanging on the outskirts, has been formed in earnest since the 1980s. can see. In a new book, publisher Nae-hee Kang (former professor at Chung-Ang University), who has pioneered critical cultural studies, attempts to dig out where this new shape of Seoul came from. The addition of the words ‘urban form’ and ‘poetics’ to the subtitle contains the setting of a direction to study the shape of the city as a socio-historical product, and to view it as an “object to be appropriated and created anew”. The author suggests that “since the urban form, the object of a poetic point of view, has a capitalist character, it is most important to examine it through the movement of capital and its relationship with its value law”. When referring to Marx, values ​​continue to appear as new forms in the process of being produced, realized and distributed, because cities are no different. The author believes that the capitalist urbanization of Seoul went through two major cycles. The first cycle starts in the early 1960s, when the 5-year economic development plan began, and ends in the early 1990s, when the 2 million housing construction project promoted by the Roh Tae-woo administration ended. The second cycle started in the early 1990s, when new towns were built on the outskirts and urbanization of the entire metropolitan area progressed. In particular, the 2nd Han River Comprehensive Development not only created the core social infrastructure of Seoul and the metropolitan area, but it was also a social engineering project that spatialized the neoliberal logic of accumulation that had never existed before in line with the liberal cultural policy of the new military government. With the advent of the ‘mica’ era and the popularization of leisure, “People are mobilized to produce value as a labor force and intensively to realize value as a consumer entity”.


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