Kim, Chongho

(1954– )
   Korean scholar whose doctoral research at the University of New South Wales, Australia, entailed fieldwork among Korean shamans, their clients, and wider society. In contrast with Laurel Kendall’s interest in shamans’ perspectives and her desire to study a gendered phenomenon, Kim was intrigued by the paradox of the persistence of the marginalized and somewhat covert practice of shamanism and its role in Korean society. Even the reactions of his own family to his researching shamanism provide evidence of the ambiguity of the tradition: even relatives who admit to having paid for a kut, ritual, evidenced embarrassment that Kim was researching the topic. He also illustrates the paradox by referring to the fact that Kendall was researching and writing at the same time as another scholar, Clark Sorensen, who was also interested in Korean peasants and industrialization but never mentions spirits or shamans. Kim is explicit that the difference between the books of Kendall and Sorensen is not surprising, because they focus on two sides of a Korean “cultural discrepancy” between the “ordinary world” (Sorensen) and the “field of misfortune” (Kendall). Kim’s own work is concerned with the fault line between those two coexisting but antagonistic worlds in Korean culture.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

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