Title page for ETD etd-07082009-103345

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Sangiovanni, John James
Author's Email Address sangiov@vt.edu
URN etd-07082009-103345
Title Deconstructing Kimilsungism: A Political and Ideological Analysis of the North Korean Regime
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Chair
Nelson, Scott C. Committee Member
Pourchot, Georgeta Valentina Committee Member
  • North Korea
  • Kimilsungism
  • juche
  • political religion
Date of Defense 2009-06-26
Availability restricted
This thesis argues that the North Korean model of government is a unique model that is influenced, to varying degrees, by extreme leftist and rightist doctrines, including Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, fascism, and Nazism; and shares at least some similarities with all these established models. Rather than being a mere political model, the North Korean model is a political religion that incorporates traits of each of the above-noted models with Korean mythology, Confucianism, extreme militarism, and traditional Korean xenophobia, isolation, and fierce nationalism. The resulting system, identified in this thesis as Kimilsungism, combines with North Korea’s unique juche ideology of national self-reliance and self-actualization to absolutely subordinate the needs of the citizenry to the will of the state. It further serves to deify the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, and his son – and current ruler – Kim Jong-il, via a pervasive propaganda apparatus and cult of personality that has successfully created an alternate reality that the regime can exploit and manipulate as it sees fit.
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