The US Armed Forces in South Korea
Ethnographic introduction to the social, economic and political factors that have contributed to tensions on the ground over US bases in South Korea
The Korean peninsula is one of the most heavily militarised regions in the world and the conflict between the North and South is continually exacerbated by the presence of nearly 30,000 US soldiers in the area. Crimes committed in GI entertainment areas have been amplified by an outraged public as both a symbol for, and a symptom of, the uneven relationship between the United States and the small East Asian nation.
Elisabeth Schober's ethnographic history scrutinises these controversial zones in and near Seoul. Sharing the lives of soldiers, female entertainers and anti-base activists, she gives a comprehensive introduction to the social, economic and political factors that have contributed to the tensions over US bases in South Korea.
Elisabeth Schober is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, where she is affiliated with the 'Overheating' project. She is also the author of Base Encounters: The US Armed Forces in South Korea (Pluto Press, 2016).
'A very powerful book which deserves a broad readership. Eloquently written, ethnographically rich and theoretically sophisticated' - Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, and author of 'Small Places, Large Issues' (Pluto, 2015)
'An excellent contribution to social anthropology and military sociology collections ... Highly Recommended' - CHOICE
'With lucid analytic prose and vivid storytelling, Elisabeth Schober shows us that the relationship between the US military and the people of South Korea is much more complex than many previous accounts let on' - Catherine Lutz
'An excellent starting point for anyone interested in how the geopolitical ROK-US relationship plays out in the everyday lives of Koreans and the young Americans sent to 'Freedom's Frontier' - The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
'Important' - Pacific Affairs
Notes on the Text
Notes on Transliteration
1. Introduction: Violent Imaginaries and Base Encounters in Seoul
2. Capitalism of the Barracks: Korea’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century
3. 'The Colonized Bodies of Our Women...': Camptown Spaces as Vital Zones of the National Imagination
4. Vil(l)e Encounters: Transnational Militarized Entertainment Areas on the Fringes of Korea
5. It‘aewon's Suspense: Of American Dreams, Violent Nightmares and Guilty Pleasures in the City
6. Demilitarizing the Urban Entertainment Zone?: Hongdae and the U.S. Armed Forces in the Seoul Capital Area
7. Conclusion: Seeds of Antagonism, Children of Discord
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745336107
eBook ISBN: 9781783717712
135mm x 215mm