Resolution of Conflict in Korea, East Asia and Beyond
The papers presented last October at the "2011 Global Forum Civilization and Peace" were recently published, officially in April, but my copy arrived only yesterday, courtesy of The Academy of Korean Studies. The back covers tells us that the forum:
. . . was attended by a number of audiences and scholars including the keynote speaker Professor Jürgen Kocka, the vice president of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Under the main theme "Resolution of Conflict in Korea, East Asia and Beyond: Humanistic Approach", we tried to look into many aspects of conflicts in the modern global world and gathered to find alternatives for the harmonious resolution. This is the collection of papers that were presented at "2011 Global Forum Civilization and Peace". I hope to share the forum's rewarding experience of intellectual exploration with the public through this publicationThe "I" is unnamed, but I reckon it's Professor Chung Chung-kil, president of The Academy of Korean Studies because it reads like a summary of his "Preface." Among the papers referred to is also my own, "Points Toward a Culture of Discussion," to be found on pages 89-114. Readers may recall my posts on this paper last autumn, such as this report, in which I offered my presentation's conclusion:
Let us remind ourselves that this year's Global Forum on Civilization and Peace focuses on the "Resolution of Conflict in Korea, East Asia and Beyond," specifying "A Humanistic Approach," and our session is concerned with "Difference and Discrimination." I began, humanistically enough, with a conflict between a high-status university professor in the West who advocated critical discourse without reference to hierarchical status but who felt justified in physically attacking a 'lowly' graduate student who had insulted him. We then looked at hierarchy within Confucian Civilization in East Asia and noted some of the problems that result from Confucianism's suppression of open discussion, the implication being that Confucianism needs to find some means of accommodating critical discourse. We considered Huntington's thesis concerning the clash of civilizations, but reflected upon his appeal for intercivilizational understanding as well and noted the possibility of cultural commonalities and even commonalities grounded in our meta-civilizational human nature, especially our mortality. We saw how this common mortality can offer a basis for a culture of critical discourse in which reasons and evidence are privileged over hierarchical status even in strongly hierarchical societies. We drew attention to a necessity for the freedom to insult since even substantive points grounded in reason and evidence can be taken as insults, regardless of intention. All of these things point to the truth that a harmonious society cannot be imposed at the outset but can only be understood as an aim to be attained at the end of a discursive process, if such harmony is ever even to be attained at all. Finally, if this paper has raised issues controversial enough to stimulate critical discussion, then I will have succeeded in my goal.There's usually a Korean version of the articles published simultaneously, but not this year. I'm not sure why. Anyway, for those interested, the book can be ordered from the site linked to above, and I'll link again here. Ironically, even though the forum was for both foreigners and Koreans, the page linked to bears the heading "Books for Foreigner," but one needs to read Korean to order a copy of the book.
I therefore suspect that my call for a culture of discussion in Korea (and elsewhere) will go unread . . .