How do I make sense of North Korea through this experience and my research?
This is part three of a series of blog posts which accounts my autoethnographic experience.
I have conducted an autoethnographic study that explores the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (from here on North Korea) through the Instagram account of @Vickyinam. I first came across this account in a BBC News clip on YouTube. According to the BBC News (2015) biography information:
“Vicky Mohieddeen is a British woman who regularly visits North Korea from Beijing where she works for a tour company that takes foreigners into the “Hermit Kingdom”. She knows the place well, has a respect for its people but realises too that she can’t allow herself – or the revealing images she takes and puts on social media – to act as a mouthpiece for the country, so often condemned as aggressive and belligerent by the international community. She…
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Hassig, R. & Oh, K. (2015) ‘Introduction: Land of Illusions’, The Hidden People of North Korea: Everyday Life in the Hermit Kingdom, Rowman & Littlefield, London, pp. 1-12.
“Tourism is an important source of income for the Kim regime, which charges premium prices for ordinary accommodation.”
- Estimated one hundred thousands tourists taking group tours to North Korea each year, mostly Chinese.
“North Korean guides tell their charges what they can and cannot photograph, and it is forbidden to take photos from the windows of moving vehicles…”
Tour groups are taken to places that “represent North Korea’s official ideology but say nothing about the lives of ordinary citizens”
“Korea is all about models and monuments, not…
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Over the coming week I will be conducting an autoethnographic study that explores North Korea through the Instagram account of Vickyinam. I first came across this account in a BBC News clip on YouTube which you can watch here. According to the BBC information:
“Vicky Mohieddeen is a British woman who regularly visits North Korea from Beijing where she works for a tour company that takes foreigners into the “Hermit Kingdom”. She knows the place well, has a respect for its people but realises too that she can’t allow herself – or the revealing images she takes and puts on social media – to act as a mouthpiece for the country, so often condemned as aggressive and belligerent by the international community. She says she’s not interested in taking those cliched “rare glimpse” pictures, but wants to use her photos of daily life in Pyongyang and beyond to connect.”
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This post is the third in a three part autoethnography series about my experiences viewing the Japanese anime film, Ghost in the Shell. You can read my first post about my viewing experience here and my second post which discusses my research and analysis of my viewing experience here.
Major Motoko Kusanagi – Image Source
Throughout this autoenthographic research process, what started as confusion at the representation of the female protagonist in Ghost in the Shell, developed into a deeper discussion of what a ‘cyborg’ in anime supposedly represents. That is a figure that embodies the capacity of information technologies to ‘erase gender and racial boundaries and the structures of oppression’ (Silvio, 1999:54), in contrast to the representation that is arguably being depicted in Ghost in the Shell, i.e. reinforcing gender polarities. This topic has such a large scope that I could continuing my research by conducting more…
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In my previous discussion of Ghost in the Shell and my initial experiences when viewing the film, I noted one of the viewing experiences that stuck with me was my reaction to the representation of women, specifically the main character Major Motoko Kusanagi. I said that I felt very conflicted. I liked that the female character was the protagonist of the story, and was depicted as strong and independent, however I was confused by the necessity of nudity for only the female characters. I felt as though the strong female protagonist was being undermined every time she was appeared nude. Is this a convention of anime I’m not aware of? Was it representing a key aspect of the storyline I simply missed? The more I think about it, various arguments come to mind that could argue the nudity is actually a feminist statement about expressing human sexuality, but that wasn’t…
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My plan of attack while watching Ghost in the Shell was to just write down everything that I thought. Normally I’m not good at the stream of consciousness style of writing, but it was definitely the most logical way to record my first autoethographic experience.
Reflecting on the short bursts of thoughts I have written down, I can’t help but laugh at myself… the first thing I have written?
“I’m already worried I’m going to get lost in this film.”
From that statement you can probably guess I’m not familiar with the anime genre. I’m not an anime virgin, I have friends who have briefly introduced me to this style of film/television in the past, but it wasn’t something I took too.
I’m going to leave the original stream of consciousness transcript below for your entertainment should you wish to read it. However, I’m just going to briefly pull out…
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