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23.08.2017 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2018

Journal of Religion and Health 2/2018

Melancholy, Acculturation, and Relief: A Brief Essay on the Religion of Ordinarity

Journal of Religion and Health > Ausgabe 2/2018
Hyon-Uk Shin


Han is not an idiosyncratic, psychological experience that is peculiar to Koreans, but a multifaceted mode of melancholy experienced by many and various people. What makes this psychological experience particularly familiar to Koreans, however, is that this phenomenon is colored by various, macroscopic factors common in the Korean context, such as sociocultural rigidness, historical instability, political feudality, and economic vulnerability. In this sense, han is an acculturated, multifaceted melancholy. Not only that, it has developed its own religiousness, the goal of which is the restoration of ordinarity, because the state of han premises extraordinary, abnormal, or tension-provoking situations. The explicit and implicit religious idioms developing in the religion of han, such as tongsung-kido and wishing-for-blessing, evolve around this religious telos, helping individuals in Korea restore and live ordinarity.

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