Korea

Valérie Gelézeau lecture: “Landscapes of Power: Mass Housing at the Urban Core in South Korea”

Largely unknown to city-dwellers before the 1960s, large apartment complexes (ap’at’ŭ tanji) powerfully shape the landscapes of contemporary South Korean cities. Some are now being memorialized by artists, planners and citizen themselves. How did apparently western-style housing blocks migrate to Korea on such a large scale? To what extent do they reflect the power relations between the global and the local in South Korean cities? What is currently at stake regarding the future of apartments in the contemporary post-industrial Korean society? Combining the perspectives of cultural geography and Korean studies, and using ethnographic materials gathered on sites studied since the mid-1990s (in downtown Seoul) or new ones in the making (Songdo), the symposium will address those issues regarding the significance of South Korea as a “Republic of Apartments” (ap’at’ŭ konghwaguk), where apartment complexes have been the main mediation of the Korean society to urban modernity.… more