‘The grand mass gymnastics and artistic performance Arirang’ (2002–2012): North Korea's socialist–realist response to global sports spectacles

Udo Merkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In accordance to Kim Il-sung’s Juche philosophy that advocates independence, selfreliance and self-sufficiency, North Korea continues to remain one of the most reclusive and least globalised countries in the world. The country’s response to the ongoing globalisation of sport, however, is less dogmatic but pragmatic, and resembles a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, it rejects and resists this process and on the other hand, it appropriates the global sports stage to pursue a complex political agenda. This paper focuses on the Arirang Festival that usually takes place in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and challenges and repudiates the prominence of commodified and globally controlled mega sports events. At the same time, this event offers North Korea a global forum to demonstrate the uniqueness and success of its political system and to foster an alternative discourse about the country. This impressive celebration of physical culture successfully negotiates the Juche philosophy and the forces of globalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1258
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume30
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013

Keywords

  • North Korea
  • Arirang Festival
  • globalisation
  • glocalisation
  • Korean division
  • nationalism

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