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Why Did Peasants Create the Dure?

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Chapter Summary

In the Joseon period, a variety of organizations existed at the village level such as community compact and various kinds of gye. One of the most important was the dure, which organized the labor of the village and provided aid to its members. Among various peasant organizations in Korean history, the dure were unique because of the social status of its members. This chapter examines their emergence and provides an overview of how they operated, including their involvement in seasonal rituals. The predecessors of the dure included the hyangdo and the various donggye of the Goryeo and Joseon periods. In general, each natural village had its own dure. There were very large villages that had multiple dure and small villages that had none or formed one with neighboring villages. Though rituals for agricultural deities were important to the dure, selecting its officers and managing its finances were even more important.

Keywords: community compact; donggye; dure; Joseon period; peasant organizations; social status system

10.1163/9789004261150_014
/content/books/b9789004261150s014
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