A Looking for an Alternative Cultural Theory after Post-Discourse:
Focusing on the Subjectivity Problem
This article looks for the alternative theory of post-discourse subjectivity. To
achieve this aim, first of all it critically examines the phenomena of various
post-discourses since 1989, when postmodernism arrived.
Before 1989, conceptions about ‘grand discourse’ of Lyotard were the focus
of the different theories of subjectivity in South Korea, and it was the same with
art works. The great epic’s icons are an ethnic group race, the Minjung, the
working class, human liberation and the subject. But these icons vanished from
theories and works after 1989, and were forgotten. The responsibility for this
oblivion lies with postmodernism and its various discourses.
Burghart Schmidt understands this oblivion as the main strategy of the
post-modern. Considering Korean post-modernism has lasted for over 30 years,
this opinion is persuasive, especially the forgotten conception of subject or
subjectivity. Since 1989, we have not been able to see the subject of the
secondary school students in the ‘4·19’-revolution anymore, or the university
students who were the main power behind the June Struggle for Democracy in
1987. In Terry Eagleton’s opinion, this indicates ‘post modern amnesia’.
Finally, the disappeared subject appeared, at Zucody Park in New York in
December 2011, and in Gwanghwamun Plaza in December 2016. Of course,
this subject is not a single color proletariat but a plurality of subjects. At this
point, we can see what the subject of change should be like in the 21st century.
This new subject provides room for reconciliation between traditional historical
materialism and post-discourse, holding out the possibility that we can be
liberated from global capitalism.
Keywords: post-discourse, alternative theory, great epic, plural subjects,