Korea owns the real Jikji printed about 70 years before Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible in 1377. In contrast to how printing originated in Europe, the invention of Korean printing was born through social and cultural demand. In Europe, copying technology, or transcription, was used before printing. In the early Middle Ages, demand for transcription immediately increased in parallel to the creation and development of the urban area and construction of universities. The development from transcription to printing was inevitable due to increase in demand for texts as well as the need for financial profit, and the sharp increase in the circulation of information broke the monopoly of the literate clergy on learning. During the time in which metal movable type was invented in Korea, society did not demand a massive spread of information. Therefore, rapid and revolutionary social change did not occur. However, the sociocultural role of printing was still significant. Despite the long distance between Europe and Korea, printing in the two societies successfully fulfilled required demand through a technology that sufficiently performed its role.
According to Dasan Jeong Yak-yong, a ruler was chosen by the people as a chief who could resolve conflict. People in a community chose group leaders and then finally chose a ruler. Therefore, rulers could be ousted if they did not play their roles properly, which equated to righteous power in Dasan’s thought, because the ruler would be ousted for not supporting the people or developing harmony among them. If a ruler abused his power or failed to carry out his responsibilities, provincial leaders could replace him, a mechanism rooted in the people. Therefore, the people could supplant the ruler. However, Dasan did not state implicitly that the people could replace the ruler, but rather that provincial leaders should decide, because Dasan advocated strengthening sovereign power in the case of King Jeongjo. Dasan illustrated the exemplary relationship between the people and the ruler through examples of rebellious subjects during China’s Yin Dynasty. Dasan acknowledged that even a good ruler might encounter opposition. He believed that power and violence, or righteous authority and violent force, should be used according to the presence or absence of communal support and harmony. Support and harmony meant peace and thus determined the implementation of authority.
This paper examined the effectiveness of a program to train North Korean teachers to adjust to South Korean society. It used a biographical approach and aimed to examine the characteristics of the adaptation of North Korean teachers who escaped from their country to South Korea. The training program endeavored to assist their adaptation by perpetuating their specialized professional work experience from North Korea. Interviews with 28 North Korean teachers were analyzed, and the effects on and experiences of the participants in the adaptation program of the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI) involving the North Korean Teachers Academy were presented thematically. In line with major points that arose during the interviews, recommendations were made about policies to support North Korean teachers and the other North Korean escapees adapt effectively to their new society through training based on their past occupational experiences in North Korea.
Declining fertility has occurred within both North and South Korea. The shifting fertility trends within both countries may have important implications upon their eventual reunification. Prior research has identified the demographic advantage of a relatively young population in relation to the actual German reunification in 1990. Conversely, demographers have identified a demographic disadvantage, in that the ratio of South to North Koreans is relatively low. This study reexamines whether changes in fertility levels in both Koreas have altered the demographic advantages and disadvantages highlighted in prior studies. The findings suggest that below replacement level fertility within the two Koreas as well as the relatively higher fertility in North Korea may not only erode the demographic benefit identified in the earlier study, but also exacerbate the demographic disadvantage. Thus, from a demographic standpoint, reunification at an earlier point in time may be more beneficial than at a later one.
This essay is a social psychological analysis of the meaning of and social pressures against vegetarianism in a highly collective cultural context. It postulates potential difficulties in social relationships as the real challenge in becoming a vegetarian in Korea. The research is based on data collected from participant observations and in-depth interviews conducted with 38 vegetarians in the Seoul metropolitan area in 2010–2011. Given the social importance placed on ordering and sharing similar meals together in order to foster intimate relationships and emotional bonds in Korea, vegetarianism can be considered deviant social behavior discordant with the nonvegetarian norm. In highly collective Korean society, it is regarded as a bad practice that disturbs harmony within the group, and vegetarians/vegans, especially those who are younger and occupy lower social positions, face enormous social pressures to yield to a conventional omnivorous diet, especially on occasions, such as a family gathering and a company dinner. While some people fail to maintain their vegetarian diet, many vegetarians/vegans try to cope with such social pressures by using various bargaining strategies, such as avoiding meal time, hiding their identity, giving an excuse, and doing routine chores for everyone else at the dinner table.
This study explores how the global trend toward networked individualism has been amplified in the Korean context by investigating changes in core discussion networks over the last 15 years. Secondary data from two national surveys are compared in regard to network structure and demographic variation. Koreans were more socially connected in 2011 than in 1996: the proportion of socially isolated people has decreased from 12.0% to 3.5%; and the mean size of core networks has increased from 2.7 to 3.1. This change is evident among the younger generations. The expansion of networks is attributed to the increased number of non-kin alters rather than kin ones, such as family members and relatives. Network density has increased despite the decreased proportion of kin. The effects of gender, age, and education on network attributes are subtle, inconsistent, or diminished.