Changingseoul

A glimpse of the hidden Seoul in a modern globalised
world.

Seoul is a city of almost 24 million people founded in 18BC. It crosses the Han River and is only 80 kilometers away from North Korea. The city is a living being full of contradictions and contrasts that turn it into a precise metaphor of what Baumann calls the ‘liquid society’ representative of the 21st century. That is a society in which identity is constantly fluid, generating unprecedented anxiety and insecurity. As Baumann affirms ́we have moved from a period where we understood ourselves as “pilgrims” in search of deeper meaning to one where we act as “tourists” in search of multiple but fleeting social experiences ́.

In this context Seoul is a precise and concrete example of these different tendencies that take place in Postmodernity. On the one hand, it is a true reflection of the current technological consumer society with a modern and avant-garde architecture and a competitive and individualistic ethic influenced by American Protestantism. On the other, it is still a community anchored in traditional values inherited from Confucianism and Buddhism with shamanic roots that foster the family, privacy and the sense of belonging. In this context, the metropolis is a faithful reflection of this dichotomy, sometimes in harmony and the majority in conflict.