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Title: Visualizing discourses and governance of human embryonic stem cell research in South Korea (in comparison to the UK)
Author: Kim, Leo Dhohoon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 5139
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates how the discourses and governance of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research operated in South Korea. Comparing South Korea to the UK in three fields (government, newspapers, and public responses) and reflecting scientific misconduct in the South Korean scientists' community, the study tries to identify hidden variables that influenced the national trajectory. To capture dynamic yet underrepresented national and cultural characteristics, the author has analysed microscopic interactions including actors' utterances, media framing, human relations and strategies. By using the methodology to pursue sociological approaches with semantic and social network analysis, concepts usually inferred and narrated by the researcher gain a visual and measurable representation in terms of Actor-Networks. The study concludes that the failure to institutionalise a sustainably cooperative research environment and (bio)ethical regulation in South Korea is an outcome of the lack of reflexive social discourse and deliberative governance. The national characteristics mainly derived from the subdued status of experts, scientists, in the government and the predominant media framing to represent life science as a mere tool to economic development. More crucially, people in general accepted the economy-oriented discourse. From the outcome of the semantic network analysis, it turns out that the public attitude was mainly constructed from people's limited objective and desire to utilise science to pursue social status and economic development. South Korean people largely disregarded the possible threat of hESC research to women's bodies that was related to human rights. A new scientific leadership should recognise this culturally embedded atmosphere and more effectively mediate government, mass media, lay public and scientific community by reconstituting expert role, critical media framing of science, and broader deliberation on the social function of scientific knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HC0466 Korea ; QH0324 Methods of research. Technique. Experimental biology ; QH0426 Genetics