Urban commoning for self-reliance and survival: subcultural activism in "Seoul Inferno"
ABSTRACT This study investigates the spatial practice of a subcultural activism of the “young radicals” in Seoul, South Korea through the lens of urban commoning. As a cohort of people born after the 1980s, these young musicians, artists, and cultural activists have endeavored to create, produce, and transform urban spaces through involvement in a series of anti-eviction protests. In particular, this study investigates how and why radical musicians, artists, and their associates have negotiated the chasms among their personal lifestyle, collective subculture, and political activism by pursuing their spatial practices for self-standing and survival over the past 10 years. Although not necessarily place specific, several cases are drawn from a group that relocated to the central area of Seoul since the mid-2010s, making its urban activism a subcultural (and transcultural) formation.
KEYWORDS: Common/communing; subculture; activism; urban spaces; Seoul/South Korea
Hyunjoon Shin is an associate professor at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul. His research focuses on popular culture, international migration and urban space, from the perspective of inter-Asia cultural studies. He was a research fellow at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore in 2006-2007, a visiting professor at Leiden University in 2008-2009, and a visiting lecturer at Duke University in 2015. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of Popular Music and a member of the Editorial Collective of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.