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Title: Communication, culture and the Korean public sphere.
Author: Kim, Sae-Eun.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2000
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The aim of this thesis is to analyse the public communication activities of Korean people from the Chason dynasty to the present day using the conceptual category of the public sphere theorised by Jurgen Habermas. It is mainly concerned with two fundamental issues: the issue of 'communication and democracy,' and that of 'communication and culture.' Emphasising tradition and culture as among the most significant elements in the consideration of communicative action and the public sphere in the Korean context, the thesis takes issue with the claims to universality in Habermas's theory. My argument is that Habermas's theory cannot easily be applied to non-Western societies unless there is sufficient consideration of their idiosyncratic traditions and cultures. To develop this argument, the thesis addresses the impact of Confucianism on speech acts in Korea and the extent of their difference from those in a Western context. In identifying 'silence' as a key term, the situation of women in Korean cultures is particularly pertinent. The second consideration is the question of political authoritarianism which is responsible for the repression of free expression of opinion in collusion with Confucianism. I have discovered that several kinds of public domains of communication have developed through Korean history, despite those two repressing mechanisms, Confucianism and political authoritarianism, public domains which I suggest are more appropriately called 'the public sphere' according to Habermas's terminology. It is meaningful to filter and interpret various communication activities across historical periods from within the analytic framework of the public sphere. In relation to modem Korea, the thesis focuses on the media-saturated public sphere and the current civil movements to demonstrate the dynamics between power and money and their impact on the democratisation process
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Democracy; Korea; Jurgen Habermas; Media Political science Public administration Philosophy Religion Sociology Human services