A critical look into the discourse of educational neutrality: the crisis of democratic education in South Korea

  • Wonseok KimEmail author


This paper presents an analysis of the ways in which the concept of educational neutrality is used in South Korea. It focuses in particular on the discursive use of educational neutrality. Drawing on selected editorials published by the Donga-Ilbo, I explore complex interlinkages between linguistic and socio-political elements that constitute the discourse of educational neutrality. The findings are that the Korean use of educational neutrality is related not only to the war-political context in which critical engagement in social and political issues is treated as a subversive political act but also to the neoliberal restructuring of education. The paper concludes by outlining some implications for democratic education.


South Korea Educational neutrality Discourse War-politics Neoliberalism Democratic education 



Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation


Critical discourse analysis


Korean Confederation of Trade Unions


Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union


Ministry of Education


National Human Rights Commission



This paper is a short version of Wonseok Kim, 2018, A Critical Investigation into The Discourse of Educational Neutrality in South Korea (19872017), Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 19th International Conference on Education Research held in the Seoul National University on 17–19 October 2018.


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SungKongHoe UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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