본문 바로가기 주메뉴 바로가기


  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

In Defiance of School Education: Retrospective Narratives of the New Generation of Dropout Youths in Korea

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2016, v.56 no.3, pp.33-62

  • Downloaded
  • Viewed


Since the mid-1990s, a new breed of school dropout cases has appeared in South Korea. The number of students leaving school of their own volition has increased in defiance of the extremely competitive school culture that is uniformly focused on preparation for the college entrance examination. In general dropout youth are recognized as off-track individuals; these individuals, frequently labeled as troublemakers, are generally low academic achievers from low-class households. However, this new generation of dropout youth shows post-dropout learning and career trajectories that distinguish them from the earlier generation. Using a case study approach, this study aims to provide a foundation for better understanding of this new generation of dropout youth by examining their motivation to quit traditional school and their post-dropout life trajectories. In other words, this study examines what made these youth decide to quit traditional school, how they came to grips with the various structural and symbolic obstacles surrounding them, and what strategy they took for pioneering their path outside the system. By examining the positions of this new generation of dropout youth and the meaning they ascribe to choosing to drop out, this study provides possible implications for what direction school education should take in these changing times, not only in Korean society but also in other societies.

dropout youth motivation of dropout post-dropout trajectory school education



Abelmann, Nancy. 2003. The Melodrama of Mobility: Women, Talk, and Class in Contemporary South Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1981. “Décrire et prescrire. Note sur les conditions de possibilité et les limites de l’efficacité politique.” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 38: 69–73.


Camilleri, Carmel, et al. 1990. Stratégies identitaires. Paris: PUF.


Charlot, Bernard. 1997. Du rapport au savoir: Éléments pour une théorie. Paris: Anthropos.


Chiland, Collette, and J. Gerald Young, eds. 1990. Why Children Reject School: View from Seven Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Cho-Han, Hae-Joang. 1997. Hakgyo-reul geobuhaneun ai, ai-reul geobuhaneun sahoe (The Young Who Reject School, Society Which Rejects the Young). Seoul: Alternative Culture Press.


Cho-Han, Hae-Joang. 2001. Hakgyo-reul channeun ai, ai-reul channeun sahoe (The Young Who Are Searching for School, Society Which Is Searching for the Young). Seoul: Alternative Culture Press.


Choi, Jung-ah. 2005a. “New Generation’s Career Aspirations and New Ways of Marginalization in a Postindustrial Economy.” British Journal of Sociology of Education 26.2: 269–283.


Choi, Jung-ah. 2005b. “Inventing Memories: Returnees’ Retrospective Narratives of Street Experience.” Urban Review 37.4: 303–327.


Chu, Byung-sig. 2003. “Hakgyo bunggoe-ui talgeundaejeok uimi” (The Postmodern Implications of School Crisis). Cheongsonyeonhak yeongu (Korean Journal of Youth Studies) 10.3: 49–64.


Chung, Yon-Soon, and Lee Min-Kyung. 2008. “Gyosadeul-i jigakhan jamjaejeok hageop jungdan-ui yuhyeong-gwa teukseong” (A Study of the Types and Characteristics of Latent School Dropout). Hanguk goyuk (Journal of Korean Education) 35.1: 79–102.


de Gaulejac, Vincent. 1996. Les sources de la honte. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.


de Gaulejac, Vincent, and Isabelle Taboada-Léonetti. 1994. La lutte des places. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer.


Dorn, Sherman. 1996. Creating the Dropout: An Institutional and Social History of School Failure. Westport, CT: Praeger.


Eckstein, Zvi, and Kenneth I. Wolpin. 1999. “Why Youths Drop Out of High School:The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities.” Econometrica 67.6:1295–1339.


Fischer, Gerhard. 2000. “Lifelong Learning—More than Training.” Journal of Interactive Learning Research 11.3/4: 265–294.


Han, Soong-Hee. 2001. Pyeongsaeng hakseup-gwa hakseup saengtaegye (Life-Long Learning and Ecosystem of Learning). Seoul: Hakjisa.


Hong, Doo-Seung. 2005. Hanguk-ui jungsancheung (Middle Class of Korea). Seoul: Seoul National University Press.


Illich, Ivan. 1971. Deschooling Society. New York: Harper and Row.


Janosz, Michel, et al. 2000. “Predicting Different Types of School Dropouts: A Typological Approach with Two Longitudinal Samples.” Journal of Educational Psychology 92.1: 171–190.


Kaufmann, Jean-Claude. 1996. L’entretien compréhensif. Paris: Nathan.


KEDI (Korea Educational Development Institute). 2014. Hanguk goyuk gaebarwon gyoyuk yeoron josa (KEDI Poll). Research Reports 2014-23. Seoul: KEDI.


Kennedy, Rosa L., and Jerome H. Morton. 1999. A School for Healing: Alternative Strategies for Teaching At-Risk Students. New York: Peter Lang.


Kim, Mee-Sook, and Kim Kyung-Ken. 2011. “Hageop seongchwido pyeongga jeongchaek-i danwi hakgyo-e michin yeonghyang” (The Impact of Student Assessment Policy on Educational Practices in Individual Schools). Gyoyukhak yeongu (Journal of Educational Research) 49.1: 93–121.


Lee, Jong-Kak. 2003. Gyoyungnyeol baro bogi (A Practical Look at Educational Fever). Seoul: Wonmisa.


Lee, Jennifer C., and Jeremy Staff. 2007. “When Work Matters: The Varying Impact of Work Intensity on High School Dropout.” Sociology of Education 80.2: 158– 178.


Lee, Kyeong-Sang, and Park Chang-Nam. 2006. “Hageop jungdan ihu cheotbeonjjae areubaiteu chamyeo siltae mit jiwon bangan” (A Study of Work Experience of School Dropout Youths). Hanguk cheongsonyeon yeongu (Studies on Korean Youth) 17.2: 265–289.


Lee, Min-Kyung. 2007. “Jungsancheung eomeonideul-ui janyeo gyoyuk damnon: janyeo gyoyuk jiwon taedo-e daehan uimi bunseok” (A Discourse on Education: An Analysis of the Attitude of Middle-Class Korean Mothers on the Education of Their Children). Gyoyuk sahoehak yeongu (Korean Journal of Sociology of Education) 17.3: 159–181.


Lee, Min-Kyung. 2010. “Homseukulling cheongsonyeondeul-ui yuhyeong-gwa hakseup gyeongheom uimi bunseok” (Analysis of Pattern of Homeschooling Youth and Significance of Their Learning Experience). Hanguk gyoyukhak yeongu (Korea Educational Review) 16.3: 155–179.


Lee, Yoon-Mi. 2010. “Views on Education and Achievement: Finland’s Story of Success and South Korea’s Story of Decline.” KEDI Journal of Educational Policy 7.2: 379–401.


Lett, Denise P. 1998. In Pursuit of Status: The Making of South Korea’s “New” Urban Middle Class. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center.


Loader, Ian. 2006. “Policing, Recognition and Belonging.” Annual of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 605.1: 201–221.


Lucas, Rosemary, and Lisa Ralston. 1996. “Part-Time Student Labour: Strategic Choice or Pragmatic Response?” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 8.2: 21–24.


MacDonald, Robert, and Jane Marsh. 2001. “Disconnected Youth?” Journal of Youth Studies 4.4: 373–391.


McNeal, Ralph B. 1997. “Are Students Being Pulled Out of High School? The Effect of Adolescent Employment on Dropping Out.” Sociology of Education 70.3: 206–220.


Morin, Edgar. 1992. La méthode 3. La connaissance de la connaissance. Paris: Seuil.


Morin, Edgar. 2000. Les sept savoirs nécessaires à l’éducation du futur. Paris: Seuil.


Morrow, George P. 1986. “Standardizing Practice in the Analysis of School Dropouts.” Teachers College Record 87.3: 342–355.


Moscovici, Serge. 1994. Psychologie sociale des relations à autrui. Paris: Nathan.


OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2013. PISA 2012 Results in Focus: What 15-Year-Olds Know and What They Can Do with What They Know. Paris: OECD.


Oh, Ookwhan. 2008. “Gyoyuk gyeokcha-ui wonin-e daehan jiksi: hakgyo-reul neomeoseo gajok-gwa sahoe-ro” (Searching for the Causes of Educational Gap: Beyond School, toward Family and Society). Gyoyuk sahoehak yeongu (Korean Journal of Sociology of Education) 18.3: 111–133.


Paille, Pierre, and Alex Mucchielli. 2003. L’analyse qualitative en sciences humaines et sociales. Paris: Armand Colin.


Park, Chang-Nam, and Do Jong-Soo. 2003. “Cheongsonyeon hakgyo jungtoe uidoui wonin-e daehan yeongu” (A Study of the Reasons for Youths Dropping out of School). Cheongsonyeonhak yeongu (Korean Journal of Youth Studies) 10.3: 207–238.


Pineau, Gaston, and Jean-Louis Le Grand. 2007. Les histoires de vie. Paris: PUF.


Seo, Deok-Hee. 2006. “‘Gyosil bunggoe ihu sinjayujuui gyoyuk damnon-ui hyeongseong- gwa geu jeohang” (The Formation of Neoliberal Discourses on Education after the “Classroom Collapse” and Resistance to It). Gyoyuk sahoehak yeongu (Korean Journal of Sociology of Education) 16.1: 77–105.


Sung, Yun-Sook. 2005. “Hakgyo jungdo tallak cheongsonyeon-ui jungtoe gwajeong- gwa jeogeung-e gwanhan tamsaek” (A Study of the Process of Adolescents’ Dropout from School and Social Adaptation). Hanguk cheongsonyeon yeongu (Studies on Korean Youth) 16.2: 295–343.


Sung, Youl-Kwan, and Lee Hyung-Bin. 2014. “‘Sueop sigan-e janeun junghaksaeng yeongu: sueop chamyeo gipi hyeonsang-e daehan geungeo iron” (Sleeping Students in Class: A Grounded Theory Study of the Phenomenon of Students Disengagement). Gyoyuk sahoehak yeongu (Korean Journal of Sociology of Education) 24.1: 147–171.


Stearns, Elizabeth, et al. 2007. “Stay Back and Dropping Out: The Relationship between Grade Retention and School Dropout.” Sociology of Education 80.3: 210–240.


Tanner, Julian. 1990. “Reluctant Rebels: A Case Study of Edmonton High School Drop-Outs.” Canadian Review of Sociology 27.1: 74–94.


Torres, R. Maria. 2002. “Lifelong Learning in the North, Education for All in the South.” In Integrating Lifelong Learning Perspectives, edited by Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo, 3–12. Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education.


Touraine, Alan. 1992. Critique de la modernité. Paris: Fayard.


Yim, Ok-Hee. 2001. “Jedohwadoen moseong-gwa janyeo gyoyuk hiseuteri” (Institutionalized Maternity and the Hysteria over Children’s Education). Yeo/seong iron (Sex and Gender Theory) 4: 35–57.


Yoneyama, Shoko. 1999. The Japanese High School: Silence and Resistance. London: Routledge.


Yoneyama, Shoko. 2000. “Student Discourse on Tokokyohi (School Phobia/Refusal) in Japan: Burnout or Empowerment?” British Journal of Sociology of Education 21.1: 77–94.


Yun, Yeo-Kak. 2002. Hageop jungdan cheongsonyeon mit daean gyoyuk siltae josa (A Survey on School Dropout Youths and Alternative School Education). Seoul: KEDI.

Korea Journal