Victoria Ten, ‘Technologies of Self in Contemporary Korea: The Notion of Suryŏn (修練) in GiCheon (氣天),’ Papers of the British Association for Korean Studies, Vol. 16 (2015): 76-96.
GiCheon (氣天) is one of many contemporary South Korean mind-body disciplines focused on physical and moral self-cultivation. Utilizing a series of interviews with the adherents of this movement, this paper examines their individual experience and understanding of GiCheon praxis in the new social and political context, revealing the mechanisms of self-construction in modern and post-modern South Korea. Within my analysis of this empirical material, I focus on the notion of Suryŏn (修練, training), often referred to by the interviewees as central to GiCheon. The process and the goal of self-transformation, generally associated with Suryŏn, are further conceptualized within this paper through the framework of “technologies of self” provided by Michel Foucault.