초록 close

This paper aims to examine the historical development of Qing China and Chosǒn Korea in the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century from a comparative perspective. More specifically, it compares the trajectory of state-local elite relations in this period. As for Qing China, the eighteenth century is often characterized by the rise of “state activism” while the second half of the nineteenth century is described as the flourishing age of “elite activism.” More recently, scholars came to stress the importance of the early nineteenth century as the transitional period in which state activism gradually gave way to elite activism. The history of eighteenth century Korea bears much resemblance to the state activism of Qing China as the Chosǒn court also endeavored to strengthen its control over various sectors of local society. As for the early nineteenth century, however, it is difficult to draw a comparison, partly because of the scarcity of relevant historiography and partly because of the divergence of scholarly opinions on the state-societal relations of the period. The mainstream scholars tend to view the state-elite relations of the period as an extension of those of the previous century, as they stress the weakening of local yangban elites and the power of local magistrates. This study, however, questions the validity of such claims and underscores the need to look more closely at the growth of local elites, particularly the “rich households and affluent people,” who might have translated their expanded public roles into their social power and enhanced social status.