The politics of sport diplomacy and reunification in divided Korea: one nation, two countries and three flags

Udo Merkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the use of sport as a foreign policy and diplomatic tool on the politically divided Korean peninsula. The recent increase in sport exchanges between the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north offer a unique opportunity to analyse the changing role and efficacy of contemporary sport diplomacy. The research investigates and critically evaluates the political agenda of these events on the divided peninsula. The theoretical framework of this study derives from the pluralist paradigm of International Relations. Therefore this article does not only deal with state initiatives and governmental policies but also with non-state and non-governmental organizations. The article focuses on sport's contribution to the improvement of inter-Korean relations and the reunification of the Korean nation, a key policy objective of both countries, in one of the very few remaining politically divided societies. Due to sport's versatile symbolic potency sport diplomacy goes far beyond the promotion of détente between the two Korean states and makes a significant contribution to the foreign policy agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-311
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Arirang Festival, divided Korea, international relations, pan-Korean Identity, reunification, sport diplomacy

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