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Why Is There No Rebellion in North Korea?

What Talk
When Apr 26, 2017
from 12:00 pm to 02:00 pm
Where The Elliott School of International Affairs Chung-Wen Shih Conference Room Sigur Center for Asian Studies 1957 E st. NW, Suite 503 Washington DC, 20052
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The George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS) will host a talk by Dr. Jai Kwan Jung of Korea University on what can account for the absence of rebellion in North Korea.

Considering its dire economic conditions and abrupt leadership changes since the 1990s, North Korea has been considered one of the most likely autocracies that could experience a large scale rebellion. In reality, however, there has been no such internal turmoil so far. What can account for the absence of rebellion in North Korea? This talk is about a paper that seeks to answer this question based on the understanding of how rebel groups emerge in autocracies. Since rebel groups are generally formed by a small number of the relatively well-educated who have support networks and political grievances toward the inner circle of ruling elites, they argue that the North Korean regime established an effective elite control system that prevents an elite schism from developing into a rebellion. To support this argument, they draw empirical evidence from the historical development of elite control system in North Korea and in-depth interviews with high-ranking North Korean defectors.

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About the Speaker

Jai Kwan Jung (Ph.D., Cornell University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Korea University. Prior to joining Korea University, he was a Korea Foundation Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Elliott School at the George Washington University. His research interests include political conflict and violence, party politics, and inter-Korean relations. His work has appeared in a number of academic journals such as Democratization, European Journal of Political Research, International Political Science Review, Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Mobilization, and Pacific Focus. He is now working on a book project on a comparative study of the North Korean Regime's durability.