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Title: A critical investigation into the discourse of educational neutrality in South Korea (1987-2017)
Author: Kim, Wonseok
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 9127
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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There has been a steady proliferation of discourses concerned with neutral education in South Korea since the democratisation of 1987. The problem of educational neutrality has been raised particularly by conservative forces. This thesis offers a critical examination of the conservative use of educational neutrality. Three inter-connected questions guide the thesis. First, what events and elements are combined in the discourse of educational neutrality in what ways? Second, how do non-discursive practices (e.g. techniques of power) help realise the discourse of educational neutrality? Finally, how do teachers and students resist pressure to be neutral? In order to address these questions, by drawing on theoretical tools offered by Kim Dong-choon and Michel Foucault, I, first of all, contextualize the conservative use of educational neutrality in relation to war-politics where critical thought and action are punished and regulated in the name of protecting society. I then combine Critical Discourse Analysis with Foucault's genealogical approach in order to grasp multiple dimensions of the discourse of educational neutrality. The construction of the discourse of educational neutrality is investigated through an analysis of a conservative newspaper's editorials. The deployment of power techniques in the realization of the discourse of educational neutrality is examined through a genealogical study of how critical teachers' unions have been regulated and how history textbooks have been sanitised. Last but not least, I explore courageous speech activities carried out by teachers and students. Those speeches, as forms of resistance to the myth of neutral education, serve to introduce a break in war-politics that draws an arbitrary line between what is and what is not say-able and do-able. The thesis concludes by highlighting that education cannot be reduced to the mere transmission of technical knowledge from teachers to students. Rather, education should take on the task of regenerating critical thought and action particularly in a pluralistic democratic society where different individuals, values, and views coexist not in an antagonistic way but in a harmonious way.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)