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The Myth of the Breakdown of Tradition and Korean Social Science: A Search for Indigenization

  • Korean Social Science Journal
  • Abbr : KSSJ
  • 2008, 35(1), pp.97-122
  • Publisher : Korean Social Science Research Council
  • Research Area : Social Science > Social Science in general

Yong-Chool Ha 1

1University of Washington

Candidate

ABSTRACT

There is a myth, or a perception that Korean society experienced a sudden rupture of historical continuity and that Korean tradition has been “destroyed.” This paper contends that without understanding and overcoming this myth, the indigenization of Korean social sciences is not possible. First, I identify the sources of the myth. Next, I analyze how the myth has actually affected understanding of Korean industrialization, political changes and social development. Finally, the paper concludes with critical suggestions for how to overcome the myth in Korean social sciences and possibilities for indigenization of Korean social sciences. Those suggestions are as follows. First, colonial studies should receive renewed attention from the perspective of understanding how Korean tradition evolved in different forms as suggested earlier. Second, Korean social scientists need to transcend system boundaries. Finally, it is imperative that various findings and arguments pertaining to phenomena which are “distinctively Korean” are collected from different areas and varying levels of analysis to determine the exact locus of Korean studies in terms of indigenization.

Citation status

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