Self-Help Is Political: How Organic Farming Creates an Autonomous Space Within the South Korean Nation State

  • Yon Jae Paik


While a nation state protects its people from other nation states, what protects the people from their own nation state? Consider contemporary East Asian societies where rivalry among nation states is used to justify the people’s sacrifices for the nation and has repressed the spontaneous creation of grassroots communities. In this chapter, Yon Jae Paik argues that building small-scale self-help communities is the key for people to regain autonomy and cope with threats caused by national politics. Paik illustrates this with the case of the organic farming movement in South Korea—a practice of communal self-help begun under the military government in 1976, with the creation of Chŏngnonghoe, an association of “righteous farmers.”

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yon Jae Paik
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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