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P'ansori as Social Critique: Perpetuating a Musical Tradition in Twenty-First Century South Korea.

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Title:P'ansori as Social Critique: Perpetuating a Musical Tradition in Twenty-First Century South Korea.
Authors:Lee, Sangah
Contributors:Music (department)
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This thesis explores the new form of Korean story-singing tradition, p’ansori, in
the twenty-first century through the works of a South Korean performing group called
Badaksori (sound from the bottom). Based on the musical and political actions of
Badaksori’s members, this study details how this liberal group articulates nationalistic,
antiforeign, egalitarian, and pacifist ideologies in its new p’ansori productions. Utilizing
historical perspectives, ethnographic research, and textual and musical analyses of
performances by Badaksori, this thesis illustrates how key elements of traditional
p’ansori have been transformed, reinforced, or retained in the age of modernity.
This thesis begins by challenging the conventional conceptualization of traditional
p’ansori as a device to promote Confucian morality in the nineteenth century by showing
how its subtexts allusively confronted the Confucian ideology. During the Japanese
colonial period in the early twentieth century, performers began to use p’ansori to project
antifeudalist and anti-imperialist ideas in a more explicit way. In the late twentieth
century, this function of p’ansori as social critique was accentuated by incorporating
minjung (“masses” or “people”) discourses that challenged the agenda of the
authoritarian state. Drawing parallels between minjung discourses and Badaksori’s
pursuits, this study draws upon minjung ideology as a theoretical and empirical basis for
its examination of the identity, ideology, and performance of Badaksori.
The goal of this thesis is to foreground the traditional role of p’ansori as a means
of voicing social critiques of dominant ideologies, from Confucian ideology to stateimplemented
discourses. I show that p’ansori emerged and has continued as a subversive
vehicle to speak for socially and economically marginalized people in Korea. This study
also shows that Badaksori has strategically and creatively made use of this traditional
function of p’ansori in modern South Korea for its ideological work by altering the
textual and musical presentation. I argue that even though musical, stylistic, and thematic
appearances of p’ansori performance has continuously changed, its function as social
critique has remained unchanged and central throughout its history in Korea.
Description:M.A. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Music

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