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A Family of No ProminenceThe Descendants of Pak T?khwa and the Birth of Modern Korea$
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Eugene Y. Park

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804788762

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804788762.001.0001

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Living with Status Ambiguity

Living with Status Ambiguity

Guardsmen, Merchants, and Illegitimate Children

(p.28) 2 Living with Status Ambiguity
A Family of No Prominence

Eugene Y. Park

Stanford University Press

A much greater body of extant documents allows chapter 2 to tell an increasingly complex story of the Paks during the eighteenth century. Contrary to common assumptions that the specialist chungin status category crystallized in the seventeenth century, the chapter shows that the family's male members tended to be lower-level military officers and merchants who found marriage partners not only among others like themselves but also from merchant families and even families descended from illegitimate-sons (sŏŏl) of the aristocracy. Relocating from Chiksan, Ch’ungch’ŏng province to Seoul, the Paks accumulated wealth thanks to an increasingly liberalized economy featuring booming commerce around the capital. At the same time, the Paks acquired royal estate managerships (tojang) in nearby Kyŏnggi province as well as securing profitable ramie-producing fields further south in Ch’ungch’ŏng.

Keywords:   Seoul, liberalized economy, merchants, royal estates, estate managers, tojang, illegitimate children, sŏŏl, Kyŏnggi, Ch’ungch’ŏng

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