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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

The Politics of Desecularization

The Politics of Desecularization

Christian Churches and North Korean Migrants in Seoul

(p.254) 14 The Politics of Desecularization
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City

Jin-Heon Jung

University of California Press

This chapter examines the politics of desecularization by focusing on the experience of Christian churches and North Korean migrants in Seoul. In particular, it demonstrates how Seoul has undergone desecularization in response to a changing geopolitical climate by providing both historical accounts of Korean Christianity and ethnographic vignettes of North Korean migrants' conversion to Christianity. It also considers a particular form of Christianity as it serves to promote, if not delimit, a modality of ideal liberal citizenship. Finally, it explores how religious revival, invention, and intervention have been intertwined in the processes of modernization and urbanization in Seoul, along with the changing implications of the transformative capacity of Christianity (that is, conversion) for self and society. It suggests that the conversion of North Korean migrants to Christianity is a reflection of the so-called “compressed modernity” of South Korea's rapid socioeconomic transformation.

Keywords:   politics, desecularization, Christian churches, North Korean migrants, Seoul, Christianity, conversion, urbanization, compressed modernity, South Korea

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