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Path Emergence on the Korean Peninsula: From Division to Unification


  • This article was supported by Kyung Hee University in 2009 (KHU-20090557).


The primary objective of this article is to examine the possibility of a path emergent transition from division to unification on the Korean peninsula. The term “path emergence” is presented as a theoretical apparatus to examine the proposition that transition from division to unification exhibits emergent properties as unintended consequences. Thus, path emergence is defined as causal sequences which unfold emergent properties within a complex social system. The path emergence approach highlights four causal sequences: morphogenetic fields, self-organized criticality, resonance and co-evolution. These causal sequences serve as a conceptual linchpin for the case analysis of the “German Question” and also the “Korean Question.” This study shows that the German Question is a historical example of path emergence. From the hindsight provided by the German case, it is argued that path emergence on the Korean peninsula is likely to occur under certain specific conditions.