Tien Luu on Durkheim and Korean Politics

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This article revolves around South Korea’s first female president and her religious scandal. The article states that she (President Park) had been seeing and taking advices from a Shaman even though she had claimed to be Catholic. The people of Korea are claiming that she is a puppet who has been controlled by this Shaman during her whole presidential term. They are demanding that she be impeached. She is apologetic and has offered to resign in face of this scandal.

To the Korean people, Shamans are seen as a devil of sorts due to their ability to talk to spirits and their use of rituals. Although Shamans are found in Korea, many people do not believe or follow in the ways of the Shamans. They can be compared to the modern fortune tellers who claim to be able to see the future as they consult with the spirits. As a result, seeing that their President has been listening to the advice of a Shaman seems like a crime to the people as it is a religion that they do not believe in. Its baffling that they could demand that the President be impeached simply because of her religious choice seeing as shamanism is a religion of its own.


This article demonstrates Durkheim’s ideas concerning the change in institution as well as the collective consciousness. This external religious conflict is a result of the shift from old institutions to new institutions. Considering at one point many Koreans believed in the aspects of Shamanism and followed the traditions and customs which they now deny because of the implementation of the newer traditions and customs. This is also an example of collective consciousness because the Korean people are all coming together with the idea that their leader should also believe in the same faith as the rest of the people. They are able to come together as a group and are determined to get rid of their own President. So although the state of the country is a mess, the people are still able to be united in these conflicted times.


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