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The Origin and Development of Breastfeeding Promotion in Korea : From Consumer Movement to the Medium of Medicalization and Commodification

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2022, 79(1), pp.397-427
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.79.1.202202.397
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 3, 2022
  • Accepted : February 8, 2022
  • Published : February 28, 2022

Park Seungmann 1

1가톨릭대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Infant feeding is roughly divided into breastfeeding and formula feeding depending on what is fed, and there exists a binary opposition between breast milk and powdered formula. It is the perception that the former is natural and nutritious, and the latter is artificial and relatively nutrientpoor. However, in Korea, this perception appeared as early as the 1980s and as late as the 2000s, and before that, many people trusted powdered formulas more. Regardless of the truth value of the binary opposition, it is necessary to examine the historical process in which the perception surrounding breast milk and powdered formula has been constructed. This article focuses on breastfeeding promotion in Korea from the 1980s to the 2000s, which gave impetus to this change, and traces the historical process developed in Korea. The key arguments are as follows. First, breastfeeding promotion in Korea originated from international and nongovernmental organizations’ movement in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Western medical professionals’ support for breastfeeding in the 1990s. And then, it was mediated to Korea by consumer organizations and medical professionals in Korea. Second, the focus of breastfeeding promotion shifted from consumer protection to emphasis on the necessity of medical management, as in the West, and later the movement became a medium for the commodification of breastfeeding by postpartum care centers.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.