[KS] Bad habits in academia, too

Vladimir Tikhonov vladimir.tikhonov at ikos.uio.no
Wed Dec 7 11:30:05 EST 2005

Yes, it is absolutely undeniable that the system of exploitation of
unpaid/badly paid student/graduate student labour does exist in the
Korean academia, being applied both to Korean and foreign students. It
also looks like the kyop'o students are especially vulnerable to this
sort of abuse - as they are judged to be "compliant because they are
Koreans" and believed to need a position in Korea in the future. In
fact, you are lucky that you have been paid at all, as I have some
Russian "hubae" of mine who were not. But what is interesting here is
why the well-known abuses are being tolerated, and I suggest it might
have something to do with the socio-political position of the university
mandarinate in South Korea in general. As Prof. Kang Chunman wrote in
his recent popular book on Korea's history in the 1970s (<Han'guk
hyOndaesa sanch'aek - 1970 nyOndae> - recommend to all!), illegitimate
government of Park Chong Hee badly needed the compliance and
collaboration of the intellectual elite to provide itself with some
semblance of legitimacy, and it left no stones unturned to coopt these
ranking intellectuals who were willing to bow down - by appointing them
to the "Professorial Evaluational Committees", by giving all sorts of
advasorial appointments, by hiking up the university salaries, and so
on. The practice of giving the political appointments to the loyal
academics continues today. So, we have the class of "societal
aristocrats" in the spirit of Wilhelmian Germany in the research
offices, and the pre-modern ways they are treating their subordinates
are taken for granted. When Stalin made the ranked academics a part of
the new privileged class in the1930-40s, the similar culture of
privatized power got implanted in the Russian universities as well.


Vladimir Tikhonov (Pak Noja).
Vladimir Tikhonov,
Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages,
Faculty of Humanities,
University of Oslo,
P.b. 1010, Blindern, 0315, Oslo, Norway.
Fax: 47-22854828; Tel: 47-22857118
Personal web page: http://folk.uio.no/vladimit/
Electronic classrooms: East Asian/Korean Society and Politics:
                        East Asian/Korean Religion and Philosophy:

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