The introduction establishes the need to examine Korean history, including that of the modern state, as a long-term process from the late nineteenth century to the end of Japanese colonial rule. It presents five characteristics of the state-making process—imperializing, reifying, civilizing and colonizing, socially embedded, and fragmented—and shows how these themes converge into the book’s central argument: the emergence of the modern state was driven by a multiplicity of often conflicting rationalizations, including legitimation. The introduction then discusses the relevant theory, reviews the historiography and history of the era under study, and presents a brief road map of the book.
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