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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An analysis of Korean teachers' ambivalent attitudes toward the United States
by Kang, Soonok, Ph.D., New York University, 2012, 349; 3511419
Abstract (Summary)

The demand is high today, for in-depth research on Koreans' attitudes toward the United States. The steady upsurge of anti-Americanism in Korea since the 1980s has important implications for U.S. strategic planning with respect to the vitally important East Asian region, as well as for policymakers in both countries who are always seeking to improve the U.S.-Korea relationship. Although several researchers have employed historical evidence and quantitative or anecdotal data to investigate Korean attitudes toward the United States, and more particularly the anti-American movement in Korea, too little research has taken a multi-dimensional approach, especially entailing in-depth qualitative analysis.

The purpose of this study is to explore the complex factors shaping Korean teachers' attitudes toward the United States. With respect to methodology, the dissertation is based on several types of data: 405 surveys and 75 interviews with Korean teachers in three regions, Seoul, Daegu, Kwangju; numerous education-related documents; 100 hours of informal observations and communications with Korean teachers; and my own reflective field notes, taken in South Korea between September 2009 and January 2010.

This dissertation contributes to the literature on Korean attitudes toward the United States. My survey and interview analyses have revealed that Korean teachers' attitudes toward the United States are both complex and ambivalent, in the sense of alternating between positive and negative. Another significant finding is that although a significant amount of scholarship analyzing Korean teachers' negative attitudes toward the U.S. has focused on their unfavorable attitudes toward the various forms of direct U.S. intervention in Korea, equally important have been the many political, economic, and cultural changes that have occurred within Korea itself.

With respect to education in particular, this dissertation has expanded upon the existing research with respect to several key educational issues that are of great concern to Korean educators. The center of this study has been an analysis of teachers' perceptions of the U.S. influence on Korean society and on Korean education in particular, and of their sometimes positive and sometimes negative tenor.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hosay, Philip
Commitee: Em, Henry, Zimmerman, Jonathan
School: New York University
Department: Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, International Relations
Keywords: Ambivalent attitudes toward the United States, American influence on Korean education, Anti-Americanism in South Korea, Korean teachers' attitudes toward the U.S., Stereotypical images of Americans and American society
Publication Number: 3511419
ISBN: 978-1-267-39179-7
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