Article: Strategies of Political Control under Kim Jong Un


What is Kim Jong Un's strategy for political control? Peter Ward and Benjamin Silberstein use two case studies to find out.

ECNK Fellows Peter Ward and Benjamin Silberstein explore the unique strategy of political control employed by Kim Jong Un in North Korea, addressing a gap in understanding how the regime maintains power. Using concepts from comparative authoritarianism, they investigate the roles of repression, co-optation, coercive distribution, and containment in response to external/internal threats. Their research focuses on border regulation and management of urban entrepreneurs & farmers as case studies. The authors find that Kim Jong Un's strategy involves simultaneous co-optation, repression, and coercive distribution (especially under COVID-19), building on and modifying previous strategies. The research contributes to a richer understanding of authoritarian regimes.

Ward, Peter, and Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein. "Strategies of Political Control under Kim Jong Un: Understanding the Changing Mix of Containment, Repression, Co-optation, and Coercive Distribution.Asian Survey (2023): 1-27.