Digital / Humanities: New Media and Old Ways in South Korea

in Asiascape: Digital Asia
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This article outlines the background to the divide between ‘the digital’ and ‘the humanities’ in contemporary South Korea. Since the late 1990s, the government of South Korea has made concerted efforts to digitize information, resulting in increased access to an unusually high quantity of heritage sources. However, the massive investments in the building of online resources have not inspired a ‘digital turn’ in the mainstream of South Korea’s departments in the humanities. This indifference to ‘the digital’, or what might be called a ‘digital/humanities divide’ has a history going back to the 1980s, when the Korean government and business leaders prepared for a post-industrial transition without drawing the interest of humanists and without expecting the nation’s remarkable success in ict.

Digital / Humanities: New Media and Old Ways in South Korea

in Asiascape: Digital Asia

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2

For the year 2012the official oecd figure for ‘percentage of households with access to the internet’ in South Korea was 97.3%. To put this in perspective the equivalent figure for the Netherlands was 93.6% while the United Kingdom scored 86.8% the United States 71.7% and Canada 80.5%. The official itu estimate for South Korea stated in itu (2011: 11) is 95%.

3

On 9 July 1990Daniel Bell gave a public lecture about information society and South Korea’s future role in the Asia-Pacific region. Korea Telecom organized this event which also marked his first visit to the country. See Maeil Kyŏngje Sinmun (1990: 15); Tonga Ilbo (8 July 1990: 15); Tonga Ilbo (9 July 1990: 16); Hankyoreh (1990: 8).

5

From Kim Hyŏn 2012:601 and National Information Society Agency http://www.nia.or.kr/Contents/06_public/mainbusiness.asp?BoardID=201112131559429988&order=070400 (retrieved 29 October 2014).

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