A critical analysis of South Korean art educators’ perceptions of the purpose and meaning of art education in the socio-cultural context

Jeong, Ok-Hee. 2012. A critical analysis of South Korean art educators’ perceptions of the purpose and meaning of art education in the socio-cultural context. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis addresses the process of meaning production through personal experiences and collective memory. It undertakes a phenomenological, historical and hermeneutic investigation of South Korean art educators’ perceptions of the purpose and meaning of teaching art formed in this specific socio-cultural context. The research uses a qualitative case study technique for collecting and analysing research data. The thesis describes the author’s experiences relating to the forming of her pedagogical identity as an art teacher exposed to Western cultural influences on Korean art education and these experiences lead to research questions which attempt to explore issues of culture and pedagogised identities in art education in South Korea.
The thesis reviews a brief history of Korean art education before and after Western influences in order to investigate how selected art educators view the purpose of art education and how they position themselves as art educators. The research data consists of a series of interview transcriptions obtained through semi-structured interviews with five South Korean art educators working at different levels of art education from 1950s to the present: secondary school teacher, university professor, government administrator, policy maker and researcher.
The analysis of the interview narratives is conducted by employing three different hermeneutic lenses—conservative, moderate and critical hermeneutics. Each of these lenses helps to reveal contrasting attitudes to art education which are named as cultural reproduction (conservative), cultural conversation (moderate) and critical engagement (critical). Though these theoretical lenses help to shed light on the interweaving histories of tradition and practice the interview data illustrates a complex combination of reproduction, conversation and critical reflection. The central notion of tradition illustrates the complexity of issues relating to cultural identity, pedagogy and desire. What is thought of as ‘traditional’ painting or drawing in the sense of enduring form and value is shown in fact to be composed of a series of different and subtle variations of practice.
The outcomes of the research provides a direction for critical engagement with art teaching and learning indicating a sense of how particular identities are constantly positioned and re-positioned within the ideological frameworks that structure understanding of teaching and learning. The key findings provide significant implications for designing curriculum policy and practice for art education in a contemporary where futures are more transient and uncertain.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


art education, south korea, hermeneutics, socio-cultural, teaching, learning, understanding

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


1 October 2012

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2013 14:07

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:36



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