Heonik Kwon and Byung-Ho Chung, North Korea: Beyond Charismatic Politics, as well as Mertha, China’s Water Warriors. Citizen Action and Policy Change. Mertha’s book ‘China’s Water Warriors. Citizen Action And Policy Change’ touches upon China’s policies and water politics and how various government agencies including NGO’s have in Chinese water politics and the impact that they have had on many developments within China. The author goes in detail about the resistance by the Chinese people and how they are able to go against the powerful people in charge of many aspects of the Chinese government.
Mertha goes into detail about about various opposition protests to dams in Pubugou, Nu river, as well as Dujiyangen and mentions why one of them worked, and why the other two were postponed, and the big role that policy entrepreneurs, framing as well as other entities had on the outcomes of each of them. This book takes into account the rapid changes in policies which surround Chinas search for energy.
In the second book titled ‘North Korea Beyond Charismatic Politics Authors Kwon and Chung talk about the politics and cultural forces behind the Kim ill Sung dynasty including Kim’s leadership style, charisma and how propaganda has changed under Kim’s leadership in order for him to remain appealing to the public. The author views North Korea essentially as a ‘theatre state’ which molds its people by framing narratives with a hierarchical system in which things have been pre-scripted and pre-determined under the Kim Jong Un dynasty.
Some of the strengths of this book that the authors cover are the various concepts that they mention including The Military-first idea which is mentioned in the book referring to the heavy reliance and legitimacy to the regime of Kim Il Sung.
The two authors of this book also talk about the leader’s bestowal of gifts to the people which is seen as very important to the regime as well as the people. Selfishness Is frowned upon and generosity is looked highly upon by the public, and the gift-giving can be seen as a form of economic power as well as love and dedication the leader. Throughout this essay I will be examining the main themes and arguments that each book has as well the hypothesis of each book. I will conclude by talking about the implications that each book’s policies have had on each country and its people.
Chun and Kwon’s book touches upon North Korea and how the dynasty and culture have been under the leadership of different leaders. Kim’s leadership is described as cult like and has been unable to really change drastically over the years because of this. A component that the authors seek to understand is the transfer of charismatic power from one leader to the next and the implications that follow. The authors seem to think that charismatic authority has been the real ‘driver’ of the country for decades, and that has really kept the country together for such a long time. The theatre state is strongly mentioned by the authors in the book with uses of political displays which pump up the people and make them become more loyal to the leader.
We see the various means of control that the regime has on its people with uses of coercion, including threats of violence, as well as other means of control such as rules and norms which attempt to shape the behavior of people under control of a regime. The authors talk about the uses of symbolic politics and how various means of public display help get ideology out to the people. In the China’s water warriors book the author demonstrates how essentially the ‘powerless’ have the resources and the ability to overcome the powerful, meaning that if given the proper resources they have the ability to potentially overthrow the leaders.
Mertha points out the political unrest that is occurring among people acting in opposition to the various dam projects that were mentioned throughout the book. These protests have essentially become turning points in how different societies view various environmental issues. Mertha talks about how the media, and NGO’s played a major role in framing of the dam protests most notably the Dujiangyan as well as the Pubugou, by helping make the protests gain more sympathy from the general public as well as gaining support from other countries in the world. as In the case of the Pubugou Dam protest, which was a large protest mainly in response to the compensation that was given to many farmers for relocation.
Mertha mentions why deterrence of the construction of the dam failed was due to many activists lacking ‘policy entrepreneurs’ which are people who take advantage of opportunities in order to influence policy outcomes.’Mertha claimed that ‘There were no visible allies within the local government to act as policy entrepreneurs who might have instigated policy change in a way that could have led to a different outcome.’ (Pg.65). Mertha claims that this essentially turned this issue into one that was merely about economic development, to one of political crisis. Mertha. Mertha states that While the book mentions that this dam protest had no major impact on policy, it was in fact much different than the other dam protests that were mentioned by Mertha in the book. Merhas main approach is
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