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Social renewal through the rural: Agricultural cooperatives in South Korea as a form of critiquing capitalism

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Although modernist discourse has emphasised industry and the urban over agriculture and the rural, this article proposes that this view of the rural as traditional and conservative is inaccurate; rather, the rural can serve as a powerful tool for critiquing capitalism. Contemporary agricultural and food movements, such as agricultural cooperatives in South Korea, are in the process of imagining alternative systems of working and living. Because they push for economic equality, intimate social exchanges, a harmonious relationship between humanity and the environment and a spatial equality between the city and country, these movements show how the rural has become a resource for reimagining new paths of fruitful social development and a symbol of hope for both urban and rural inhabitants.
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Keywords: Hansalim; alternative modernities; iCoop Korea; neoliberalism; rural

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2016

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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