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Theses Doctoral

The Morphology of Resistance: Korean Resistance Networks 1895-1945

Shin, Eun Kyong

My dissertation, The Morphology of Resistance: Korean Resistance Networks 1895-1945, develops a theory of resistance. Investigating the dynamics of collective resistance, this study focuses on people who decisively resisted an unwanted authority; colonial Korea is the empirical locus. Despite the prevalence of resistant movements thoughout our history, very little is known about the relational structure of resistant movements. Thus, my dissertation fills that lacuna in the literature. The focal question is how less powerful and less equipped colonized people organized and sustained collective resistance. Building on the accumulated knowledge from the social movement theory, studies of secret societies and a social network perspective, my dissertation advances a structural understanding of resistance movements and covert social networks. I have conceived my dissertation in four empirical components. First, my study focuses on relational structures of the Korean resistance movement from 1895 to 1945. Using an innovative prosopographical network method, I capture the historical trajectory of the morphology of resistance, providing structural accounts of Korean resistance movements. Next, I statistically examine the structural conditions that enable large-scale mobilization under the conditions of severe repression. Proposing a theory of network visibility highlighting structural heterogeneity and network fragmentation, I demonstrate the ways in which network visibility operates for covert mobilization. Comparing the March 1st Movement (MFM) in 1919 and the June 10th Movement (JTM) in 1926, I next consider why the MFM mobilization was remarkably successful than the JTM. I argue that the escalated insurgency of the MFM can only be explained by the specific structural conditions for mobilization. Then, my study shifts focus to the demobilization process. What are the structural mechanisms that can explain the evolution and devolution of resistance movements? I empirically show different dynamics for movement mobilization and demobilization. Lastly, I examine the Provisional Government of Korea, which operated from 1919 to 1945 in Shanghai, China, as a case of a successful covert organization. By systematically allocating risk on the margin and to the members who have shorter experience, the covert organization protected the core members and secured their resistance resilience. As a result of these analyses, my dissertation contributes to understand of both resistant movements and covert social networks. The lessons learned from the Korean case help make sense of other cases of covert collective action.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Bearman, Peter Shawn
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 22, 2015