Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: A rebellion in the Korean medicine community : an ethnography of healthcare politics in contemporary South Korea
Author: Na, Seonsam
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 3511
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis explores South Korean healthcare politics based on a series of inter-generational conflicts that occurred in a medical community in 2012. The conflicts broke out among 'doctors of Korean medicine', a medical profession unique to Korea practicing a form of medicine of East Asian origin that has recently undergone significant 'bio-medicalization'. Doctors of Korean medicine have the same status as doctors of Western medicine in the country's mainstream healthcare system, although the purview of their practice is legally demarcated. Government policies aimed at the industrialization of pharmaceuticals and the promotion of health among Korea's elderly population were the source of the conflicts that escalated into a group of junior doctors leading to what could be considered a 'rebellion' against the community leaders. The thesis investigates first the socioeconomic and political backgrounds of the conflict. It proposes that elements of intra- and inter-professional politics and the aftermath of the country's re-democratization, economic shock and demographic transition were all important factors. Second, it explores the nature of the rebellion itself by focusing on the emergence of a set of norms and values and on the 'ritual-like' interactions observed during the event. The analysis reveals that during the conflicts the actors referenced certain values and ideologies underpinning their everyday lives and, in doing so, were effectively engaged in the strengthening, rather than the weakening, of existing social structures. This thesis contributes to the study of Korean medicine by revealing the features of its integration into the country's healthcare system and the effects of its bio-medicalization. By describing the process by which new online-based agents of a social movement emerged, it also contributes to the study of hyper-connectivity in Korean society. Finally, the ethnography contributes to the anthropological study of East Asian medicine by illustrating the importance of institutional factors such as politics and the economy in capturing the modes of its contemporary presence.
Supervisor: Goodman, Roger ; Potter, Caroline Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical care--Korea (South) ; Medicine--Political aspects--Korea (South) ; Social medicine--Korea (South) ; Medicine ; Korean ; Medical anthropology