[Review] [Colloquium] Social Science of the ‘Backwardness’

[Colloquium] Social Science of the ‘Backwardness’


On last Wednesday, December 10th, Seoul National University Asia Center has invited Ha, YongChul, Professor at University of Washington, for the colloquium titled “Social Science the ‘Backwardness’” Professor Ha has been articulating the importance of developing Koreanized social science.

Ha argued that the questions developed from the process of studying decolonization, industrialization, democratization, and other experiences of Korea should be used for the comparative studies between Korea and other countries to better understand conditions of Korea in international ground.


Jung, Keunsik, the director of Northeast Asia Center, a professor of Sociology and chairman of the advisory council, and Oh, Myung-seok, the director of Southeast Asia Center and a professor of Anthropology), had both participated in the colloquium as discussants to be added on to the elements of excitement.


Professor Ha has led the discussion on ways to actively establish types and theories of Korean experience of late industrialization through utilization of his research results that had been centered on the neofamilism.

He argued that in order to comprehend characteristics of the late industrialized states in particular, a work of researching and creating a new framework is necessary to investigate the distinct conditions of those states that cannot be simply generalized.

Ha also emphasized that by categorizing into types and forming new theories of each particular experiences of late industrialized states that are different from the way Western states have experienced, it is possible to communicate with the actual international academia more instructively and productively. In other words, it is needed to examine the historical experience of South Korea as a significant individual type.


Professor Ha grasped the school ties and regionalism centered social structure should have been abolished during the process of modernizationfrom western perspective, as a concept of neofamilism.

Ha had been conducting positive studies to prove the influence of school ties and regionalism in the actual realm of promotion or employment process.

Ha emphasized that the comparative studies through the work of categorization, and the formation of types that specifies the ‘distinctiveness’ of each cases, can open the windown of possibilities for new theories.

In the cases of Northeast Asian countries, for examples, each state has eccentric conditions for their industrialization: The industrialization of Japan took place during Imperialism era, Korean industrialization was backdropped by the Cold War, and Chinese industrialization was initiated by the end of Cold War and the globalization.

The relative comparison with historical context in mind would greatly contribute to universal understanding, Ha explained.

These points made by Ha was more meaningful in that these conclusions resulted from collected communications in the international academia he had come to face after transferring to the school in the United States.


Professor Ha, who had been leading the academia of international politics, left Seoul National University in 2008, and was appointed as a chair-professor of Korean Studies Center at University of Washington. As he was transferring to University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, Ha had expressed that he wants to study Korea in a way that is not just appreciated by Koreans, but also to be acknowledged by the people outside of Korea.


Ha had been showing interest in studying the characteristics of social changes that took place during the late industrialization through historical and comparative approach.

He had been scrutinizing a means to understand the late industrialization of East Asian countries that are unlike the cases of early and late industrialization in Germany, Japan, Soviet Union, and other states.
Professor Ha had been asserting that analysis of micro aspects and theoretical establishment in macro aspects should simultaneously precede for solidification of Korean international politics studies.


He had been stressing the need to practice an analysis of specific processes that can support microscopically, and a systematic collection of data and formation of hypothesis for macroscopic theoretical establishment process. Ha believe that these would lead to conceptualizing and specifying the details of international politics phenomena that is of Korean and yet possesses universal applicability.


Asia Center Colloquium

Title: Social Science of Late-onset / Backwardness

Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014. 13:30~15:30

Place: SNU Asia Center # room 303

Speaker: Ha, Yong Chool (Professor at Washington University)

Discussions: Oh, Myung Suk (Director of Southeast Asia Center at SNUAC)

Jung, KeunSik (Director of Northeast Asia Center at SNUAC)




[Colloquium] A Search of Developmentalist Urbanism: Right to the City from the Perspective of a Legal Expert.

Presentation: Lee, Gye Soo (Professor, Konkuk University Law School)

Date: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014. 16:00 ~ 18:00

Place: SNUAC (101) Room #303.


At 4 o’ clock in the afternoon on December 17th, the 2nd colloquium organized by SSK East Asian Urban Studies team had begun with a presentation by Lee, Gye Soo, a professor of Konkuk University Law School, followed by Kim, Yong Chang, a professor of Geology at Seoul National University, as the discussant at SNUAC room 303.

More than 40 audiences of various backgrounds have participated in the colloquium titled “A Search of Developmentalist Urbanism: Right of the City from the Perspective of a Legal Expert.”

The colloquium turned out to be a great success. The heated discussion on the topic had prolonged the colloquium 30 more minutes. Such enthusiastic interest on urban studies showed that the intellectual inquiries and social desire for the urban studies is far greater than the Urban Studies team had anticipated.

The presenter, Lee, pointed out that the formal discourse on civil disobedience have tendency to stay within the liberalistic boundary of limiting the agent of disobedience as a ‘respective individual.’ He proposed a discourse of ‘disobedience of urban dweller (or zivilier)’ to expand the agent of disobedience as ‘zivilier, or urban dweller,’ that includes everyone who has suffered from a deprivation of competencies by capitalist-led urbanization.

The zivilier, or urban sweller, is not only limited to the people who live in the city (die Stadt), but includes everyone who is effected by the formation of ‘the urban, das städtische’. The urban dweller under such definition does not only encompass the urban poor and the homeless, but also the farmers who protested against the formation of urban spaces, which was only focused to ease the accumulation of the wealth for the central government by sacrificing the local regions, such as the people of Miryang city.

The first part of the presentation had been focused on defining the agent and the subject of urban dwellers under disobedience, the next part focused on generating legal logics to support the disobedience of the urban dwellers.

Lefebvre’s idea of appropriation is used as the starting point for producing the legalistic rationalities. In the colloquium, the concept of collective ownership related to the rights of common was examined first, to elaborate the idea into legal terms.

In the existing civil law of Korea, the common rights / right of common and the collective ownership are treated as relics of old generation, but the theorists of the ‘common’s such as Peter Linebaugh and Elinor Ostrom have re-evaluated these concepts as a valid method of governing the commons, Lee explained.

He also asserted that the new implications can be brought by applying these concepts shared by the theorists of the commons on the right of commons and collective ownership / the commons into the current affairs where the commons are indiscriminately destroyed by the capitalist power of individualistic ownership.