The goal of this thesis is to examine how the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea uses social control to enforce its will over its people. This examination will be based around social control mechanisms used in three separate areas of society. I referred to these three areas of social control as pillars of power. The first pillar of power is control over the economy and distribution of resources. The second pillar is control and influence over culture and the flow of information. The third pillar of power is the monopoly of force, both the ability to use physical violence and legitimize violence. To illustrate these pillars of power this report will rely on already established theories of anthropologists such as F.G. Bailey, Marvin Harris and James C. Scott. This thesis will also rely on content analysis of the written memoirs, testimony and lectures given by North Koreans who have escaped the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This thesis will also rely on content analysis of North Korean propaganda and media. Through the use of existing theory combined with content analysis of the accounts of everyday North Korean citizens this thesis will demonstrate how the three pillars of power work together to create a platform of power for the regime and what happens when those pillars of power begin to fall. This thesis will also examine the current situation within the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the prospects for reunification with the Republic of Korea. This Thesis will prove that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has relied on control of these three pillars of power and that the regime's current tenuous situation and instability can be traced to its full or partial loss of one or more of these pillars of power.
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Walker, Ryan Michael, "Pillars of Power: An Anthropological Examination of Social Control in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (2015). All Theses, Dissertations, and Other Capstone Projects. 447.
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