Internationalization of the Social Sciences in South Korea: The Current Status and Challenges

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Kwang-Yeong SHIN, Department of sociology, Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea
The social sciences in South Korea have been affected by both democratization and globalization. Democratization in South Korea has transformed university system in significant ways. The Kim Young-sam government claimed as ‘the civilian government,' transformed the orientation of social sciences research by emphasizing area studies and comparative research as a part of the government’s globalization policy. As democratization proceeded, the rules for social sciences research were also altered. The newly introduced sabbatical leave system in the 1990s allowed scholars to be exposed to the burgeoning international research. The competitive allocation rule of research fund by the National Science Foundation has contributed to the internationalization of the social sciences in South Korea, by emphasizing meritocracy rather than seniority. The education of graduate students was also changed by an introduction of the Brain Korea 21 program in 1999, which purported to enhance the quality of graduate education. Internationalization of graduate education has been a core part of the Brain Korea 21 programs by emphasizing publication at international journals and participation in international academic activities such as conferences or workshops. In sum, the simultaneous process of democratization and globalization has generated a unique feature of internationalization of the social sciences in South Korea. It also generates academic challenges about the autonomy of researchers and publication of national or local experiences in international journals.