미국의 대외 문화정책을 통해 본 미군정 문화정책

U. S. Cultural Policy and Occupied Korea
韓國言論學報 제44권 3호, 2000.7, 40-75 (36 pages)
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The U. S. occupation of South Korea has been the subject of close scholarship scrutiny because its immense impact on the subsequent development of Korean society. Indeed, it has since the 1980s become one of the most popular topics for Korean historians and social scientists.
Overall, scholarly investigations on this period are remarkable in two respects. First, most previous studies on this period, regardless of their theoretical perspectives or interpretative differences, have focused on the economic, political and military aspects of Unites States intervention, leaving the cultural side of story mostly untold. Even those researchers who have recently expressed interest in culture during the U. S. occupation, have confined themselves to a narrow array of topics such as media control and propaganda activities, failing to provide a comprehensive picture of the cultural dynamics of the time. This lack of scholarly debate on the cultural side of the U. S. occupation is especially striking, though, in the light of the considerable body of evidence suggesting that Americans have consistently made culture a key aspect of their overseas operations, in Korea and elsewhere. The lack attention to culture is a clear blindspot in the history of the U. S. military occupation in Korea. Second, even those limited numbers of works that take on the media policy or propaganda activities of the U. S. military government treat the issues apart from their international context. Not surprisingly, the driving historical forces behind American policy, which can be grasped only within the general framework of American postwar cultural planning, are ignored.
This study attempts to correct several oversights in previous research. First it tries to convey a comprehensive picture of the time by adding a new cultural dimension to our understanding of the U. S. occupation, particularly as it illuminates the newly emerging global order after World War II. As this study argues, although the driving force behind U. S. expansionism after World War II was capitalist greed, its rationalization was its cultural creed. In other words, this study tries to reveal the strong connections between U. S. imperial politics and cultural labor that were always at work in America's pursuit of supremacy on the postwar global stage.
Second, this study tries to discuss the issue from a holistic perspective. In other words, U. S. cultural policy during the U. S. military occupation was not a unique or isolated happening pertaining only to Korea. An exclusive concern with Americans' cultural practices in Korea cannot properly account for the development of cultural policy at the time. Many previous studies have taken an apologetic position toward U. S. policy in Korea, regarding any U. S. misadministration as a consequence of the military government's lack of firm policy or of insufficient harmony between Washington and the local military government. Such explanations in general tend to separate military government policy for the overall foreign policy of the United States. This study suggests that the cultural policy of the U. S. military government at the time was formed and implemented as an integral part of the global cultural policy of the United States that was in turn perceived by American policy makers as an instrument for the effective fulfillment of overall U. S. foreign policy.
Finally, this study challenges the earlier position that American cultural influence in Korean society at the time was sporadic and non-systematic. Instead, the period is treated as the point where a whole set of patterns and inventories of culture was qualitatively reconstructed and transformed, nor randomly but most intentionally and systematically, by the American military government and by American private industries. Therefore, this study suggests that the cultural policy of the U. S. military government had a strong coherence in terms of motive, and that any modifications of the policy during this period reflected American efforts to respond to local conditions most effectively without sacrificing fundamental motives. Thus, the basic premise of this study is that the cultural dynamics at the time can only be completely understood within the context of a U. S. global cultural policy undertaken as a way to implement U. S. foreign policy.
The three-year American rule over Korea opened the way for American popular culture to permeate every corner of the country. It is remarkable that this period represents the first significant involvement of American cultural industries in Korean culture, but it coincided with systematic discouragement of nationalist cultural activities. This study has shown that the American were very successful in establishing the general image of the United States as a glorified nation. Consequently, although many Koreans were critical about the policies of the U. S. military government, this antagonism did not necessarily hinder their cultural fascination with the halo of luxury and wealth of the American life-style and popular culture offered by a conquering America. Therefor this study suggests that the constellation of a strong cultural policy successfully executed by the American military government in Korea on the one hand, and of a glorified fantasy delivered by American culture on the other, opened a path to the subsequently successful process of Americani¬zation in Korea.

1. 미군정 연구에 대한 문제제기
2. 미국의 헤게모니 쟁취와 대외 문화정책
3. 미국의 문화정책과 미군정
4. 미군정 문화정책의 의미와 평가
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