[KS] the culture of death and life insurance markets in Korea

Vladimir Tikhonov vladimir.tikhonov at ikos.uio.no
Thu Oct 25 05:51:14 EDT 2007

Although it is not an "academic" article, I sincerely recommend the 
following piece by Prof. Kang Chunman (ChOnbuk National Un-ty, Media 
Studies): "History of Korean Insurance: World's 6th Biggest Insurance 
Market made by the 'Family-based Welfare' and 'Everybody-Provides-for 
-Oneself Weflare'" (한국 보험의 역사: ‘연고 복지’와 ‘각개약진 복지’가 만 
든 세계 6위). It was published in monthly <Inmul kwa sasang>, August, 
2007 (see the sontent of that issue here: 
http://www.inmul.co.kr/sub_read.html?uid=2067&section=section20) and 
made a good case about the direct connection between the underdeveloped 
state of the social welfare in S.Korea and overdevelopment of the 
private insurance market. Another interesting trait discussed in some 
detail by Prof. Kang, was the "Yonchul" (private connection) 
network-based strategy of selling insurance packages on the retail 
market, which made insurance, personalized by lovable, friendly, 
neighbourly "PohOm sOlgyesa ajumma", into a part of socio-cultural, not 
only socio-economic practice. Prof. Kang recently writes many 
fascinating pieces about the everyday culture of Korean capitalism, but 
he seemingly decided not to write/publish in English at all, and that is 
why he seems to be unknown to the majority of our foreign graduate students.


On 24.10.2007 1:30, Namhee Lee wrote:
> Dear colleagues:
> I have an undergrad student who is currently involved in a research  
> project at UCLA who needs help in locating materials related to the  
> culture of death and life insurance market in South Korea.  I have  
> pasted below her project description and the more specific area where  
> she needs help.
> Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
>> Project Title: Culture, Death, and Life Insurance
>> Project Description: Life insurance is a peculiar commercial  
>> commodity that
>> puts a price on priceless human life. When being introduced to a  
>> population,
>> it always faces strong cultural resistance. This project compares  how 
>> life
>> insurance markets emerged in Japan and China, where the topic of  
>> death is a
>> cultural taboo. Data collection for the Chinese case is already  
>> completed.
>> What is needed is information about the formation of the life  insurance
>> market in Korea and Japan.  Also other relevant materials,  including the
>> history and the development of the Korean and Japanese life insurance
>> market, the culture of death in Korea and Japan, the welfare  
>> institutions in
>> Korea and Japan. Information about other East Asian life insurance  
>> markets,
>> such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand may be needed.
> Thank you,
> Namhee Lee
> Assistant Professor
> Asian Languages & Cultures
> 290 Royce Hall
> Box 951540, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
> Mailcode: 154003

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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