Article ID: CBB001450065

From Politics to Academics: Political Activism and the Emergence of Science and Technology Studies in South Korea (2014)


Science and technology studies (STS) is now a mature field in many countries, and it is important to understand its historical and political roots in a wide variety of national contexts. The present contribution to such a vast project links a number of South Korean activist groups involved in a critical reflection upon science and technology in the 1970s and the 1980s to the academic developments of the STS field in the 1990s. A focus on the activist roots of South Korea's STS counterbalances more institutional and less politicized histories of the field; it also enlightens the specificity of critical approaches to science in the context of an emerging power that was a military dictatorship. The authors describe how a group of students and professors, most of whom had been trained as scientists and engineers, created a discussion circle to foster a critical and political discourse on science. They then trace the emergence of the new field through the dissemination of texts and their reception. The academic aspects of Korean STS are then compared, over three periods, with similar currents in Europe and the United States. The conclusion shows that the critique of science that emerged in South Korea took a form substantially different from critiques elsewhere, linking this difference to political and institutional causes.

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Authors & Contributors
Jasanoff, Sheila
Figaredo Curiel, Francisco Humberto
Tucker, Aviezer
Fuller, Steven
Hamlin, Christopher S.
Ong, Aihwa
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Science as Culture
Technology and Culture
Science Technology and Society
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Perspectives on Science
Duke University Press
Potomac Books
Presses Universitaires de France
Bloomsbury Academic
Harvard University Press
Science and politics
Cross-cultural comparison
Global history
Science studies, as a discipline
Science studies, theoretical works
Public policy
Marx, Karl
Latour, Bruno
Bernal, John Desmond
Needham, Joseph
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
Early modern
South Korea
East Asian Biosphere Reserve Network

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