Northeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - The Growth of Biology Under the Korean Authoritarian Regimes

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

Many seem to agree with the view that the growth of contemporary science and technology in South Korea was led by the government. While I likewise concur largely with this perspective, “government-led” does not mean that the government or the President was the sole or an absolute actor. By mainly examining the relationship between the South Korean government and biologists during the 1960s-1970s, this paper will endeavor to demonstrated that the government-led growth of science and technology in the country was the result not only of the establishment and implementation of top-down policy well organized under a homogeneous and unified system but also of the interaction between the government and scientists, and the international environment and cooperation surrounding it as important factors.


Korean government did not give financial aids to basic scientific research due to the economic difficulties in the 1960s and biologists had to find other resources from international networks and organizations such as IBP. They also tried to maintain a close relationship with Korean government through personal connections with Korean President’s family under the banner of "natural resource conservation" in order to draw governmental support. Although their research including taxonomy and ecology could belong to “pure sciences”, biologists did not mind using “political approach” to develop their "pure research."

Manyong Moon

Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea

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