Research on North Korean Kurimchaek in the 2000s

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Reading for the North Korean reader: the framing of comic consumption in contemporary DPRK Martin Petersen

The production, dissemination and performance of cultural works is key to regime policy in the DPRK. A range of recent studies approaches cultural works as tools for inquiry into North Korean social issues, and critical discussions on how cultural texts and performances shape every day practices. Needless to say, sociological inquiries into cultural consumption in North Korea are challenged by the isolated status of the nation. In this situation, DPRK academic journals on cultural works and media coverage of cultural performances constitute an empirical point of inquiry into the North Korean cultural consumer. Reading for the North Korean Reader examines the framing of the cultural consumption of comics (referring here to both kurimchaek (graphic novels) and manhwa) in contemporary DPRK. The question is approached from two perspectives. Firstly, it examines how cultural journals dealing with children and youth issues frame the social consumption of North Korean graphic novels and manhwa. Secondly, it looks into how recent North Korean graphic novels represent the cultural consumer within its narratives. How, in which social situations and to what effects are DPRK comic readers staged in these works, and how do these stagings fit with the cultural consumers carved out in DPRK academic discourse ?