The German unification as a process of dominance culture and its implications for the situation in South Korean society
Ingrid MIETHE and Hee-Young YI
The article draws inferences for the situation in Korea from the experience of the German unification. The focus is on the cultural and mental consequences of the German unification. The article shows that, in the course of the German unification, a West German dominance culture formed which continues to describe differences between Eastern and Western Germany. This dominance culture is based on a devaluation of East German experience and a one-sided, Western interpretation of past and current developments. With reference to a study of North Korean refugees in South Korea, similar mechanisms—in spite of the quite different cultural context—can be shown to exist in Korea. Although the different histories and cultural backgrounds of Germany and Korea necessitate caution in making generalizations, the article proposes that these fundamental mechanisms of dominance are at work in the present relationship between North and South Korea, and should be taken into consideration in the context of an eventual unification.
KEYWORDS: German unification; North Korea; East Germany; intercultural misunderstandings; East-West-Dominance
Ingrid Miethe is a Full Professor for General Education, Department of Educational Science, University of Giessen in Germany since 2001. Research topics are qualitative and biographical research, history of education, international educational cooperation, German unification process and social inequality.
Hee-young Yi is a sociologist and has been a professor at Daegu University in South Korea since 2007. Building on qualitative methods such as biographical research, photo analysis and discourse analysis, her research deals with life experiences of minorities such as prostitution, migration and violence.