Rüdiger Frank / Sabine Burghart (Hg.)
Driving Forces of Socialist Transformation. North Korea and the Experience of Europe and East Asia
2009, ISBN 978-3-7069-0569-5, 336 S., geb.
€-A 32,00 / €-D 31,10
North Korea is of crucial importance as a major security threat in Northeast Asia, due to grave humanitarian and human rights concerns, but also as a catalyst of regional co-operation and a hot spot in one of the world’s most dynamic regions. However, our understanding of this complex society lags seriously behind its relevance. Starting from the assumption that North Korea is a socialist country that is part of the East Asian region, the book combines various expert perspectives on socialist transformation, including those of economists and political scientists, academics and practitioners, as well as specialists on Eastern Europe and East Asia. The diversity of their views is presented against the methodological background of interpreting institutions as an interface between the universalist approach of social sciences and the particularistic approach of area studies. We find that on the basis of shared characteristics of East Asian and socialist societies, it is indeed possible to enhance our understanding of North Korea despite the persisting difficulties in conducting first-hand field research.