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Karl H. Stingeder

Case Study: North Korea

How predictable is the regime?

ISBN 978-3-8288-2540-6
134 Seiten, Paperback
Tectum Verlag 2010
24,90 €
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Case Study: North Korea


North Korea: a ruthless politic actor and true threat to the world - or at least that’s how the Western hemisphere sees it. Yet our factual knowledge of this post-Leninist and totalitarian regime is extremely limited and relatively distorted; it is largely circumstantial evidence and judgmental speculation that accounts for our perception of this East Asian state. Karl H. Stingeder challenges this view with a thorough academic enquiry using models based on foreign policy, power politics and economic considerations to compensate for the lack of data. From these angles, North Korean politics appears neither irrational nor unpredictable: the logic of its actions may at first seem opaque, but it nonetheless diplays its own rationale and patterns. Stingeder offers profound insights into the “Juche” philosophy and the concept of autarky introduced by Kim il-Sung in 1967, demonstrating how these ideas form the theoretical core of North Korea’s strategy for political survival. It is this balanced view of North Korean politics and culture that make Stingeder’s book an important contribution to diplomatic relations and international communication.
  • Karl H. Stingeder studied Political Science and Drama from 2002 to 2008, focusing particularly on international politics. “Case Study: North Korea” is the English translation of his final degree thesis in Political Science in Vienna. Originally published in German in 2009, it has now been revised, updated and translated into English.
  • “Karl Stingeder’s book is on the whole a successful analysis and worth recommending to anyone looking for an unbiased overview of the subject, far removed from media representation.”
  • “In his specialist approach, Karl Stingeder takes a different route to get closer to the truth of this controversial North Korean conflict. Soberly, he follows a carefully set out analysis to lay bare intended manipulation/propaganda techniques and question alleged "facts" – "facts" that so many people talk about, yet whose objective validity is negligible as a result of the country’s isolationism. At the end of this fruitful essay, thankfully there emerges an astounding "light bulb moment" as the doors to a different perception are opened to readers. Stingeder’s analysis helps us move away from the traditional view and generalised prejudice against North Korea presented by the media.”
    (UNIQUE – Journal of the official representation of university students in Vienna, 04/2010)
  • "’Case Study: North Korea’ provides a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of the Juche ideology and its effects on realpolitik. As Karl Stingeder concludes, there is no patent remedy to solve this "North Korean dilemma" or the permanent tension on the Korean peninsula.”
  • "’Case Study: North Korea’ provides a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of the theory and its effects on realpolitik. […] In his conclusion, Stingeder also presents a geopolitical view that gives pause for thought – just like the numerous thought experiments on the hypothetical conflict escalation. "Case Study: North Korea" is a successful analysis that requires some previous knowledge of the region and political science theories, yet which also provides new insights and perspectives.”
  • "’Case Study: North Korea’ is published as part of the Tectum Publishing House political science range and offers the most up-to-date analysis of the motives of a regime that is difficult to fathom and which frequently provokes irritation in the international arena. Stingeder accurately addresses the country’s ideologically-contingent isolationism and simultaneous policy of strength by providing a solid methodical foundation using the most important scientific approaches to explain real processes.”
  • “Like a master sleuth, Karl Stingeder quietly sneaks up on the truth and follows a trail of propaganda and second-hand information. His analysis begins where others content themselves with standard political theories, and thus offers all kinds of alternative approaches. […]"Case Study: North Korea" offers an interesting analysis of a political drama that despite its apparent distance affects us all by the (propagated) atomic threat. Stingeder’s deep exploration of North Korean behaviour opens up a new and decisive perspective on this isolationist regime.”
  • “Stingeder, whose analysis actually puts North Korean politics in a rational light, offers a geopolitical outlook on a region in which the potential collapse of North Korea is both a hopeful and frightening scenario. As plausible as his argumentation is, however, Stingeder must also deal with the problem of incomplete data - which necessarily leaves many questions open. “
    (ZPol – Magazine for Political Science, 01/2010)
  • "To readers wanting to learn more about North Korea and its system, the book offers a rich introduction to the topic and an overview of the relevant literature. In any case, Stingeder’s book is a brave enterprise to tackle North Korea on this level and risk running into a brick wall…”
    (POLITIX, No. 29, 3/2011)
  • "‘Case Study: North Korea‘ is a booklet well structured that provides an illuminating overview about the ideological, political and military foundation of the North Korean state. The author is striving after an power- and geopolitical analysis to comprehensively explain the foreign policy of the regime."
    (Yearbook Extremism & Democracy (E & D), 2010)