Folklore As a Reflection of a Society: Black Pete and Cheoyong


Folklore is not genuinely false, in that it is originated from facts in the history, and history cannot be completely invariant in that it is often tailored to serve a certain group or nation. In such a sense folklore and history are closely related each other, which serve to engender the national identity. It is interesting to note that such semi-invented folklore from historical facts mirrors the contemporary multi-ethnic society; at the same time, the way the majority deals with the minority in the nation. In this regard, this paper attempts to investigate two figures from folklore, respectively: Black Pete in the Netherlands, and Cheoyong in South Korea, to look into how the minorities are represented in the national discourse. This paper questions whether or not the difference lies in the process of national identification of the two countries, and posits that the narratives of the majority groups of both cases commit epistemological violence to the minority groups by either including them in the master discourse yet reifying them as figments of colonialism, or dismissing the possibility of the minority to be a part of the history so that its existence can be marginalized and the homogeneity can be strengthened as much as possible.

Author Information
Seungyeon Lee, Yonsei University, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: ECCS2014
Stream: Cultural narratives of belonging/not belonging

This paper is part of the ECCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon