Multicultural Education in South Korea: Language, ideology, and culture in Korean language arts education, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Multicultural Education in South Korea

Language, ideology, and culture in Korean language arts education, 1st Edition

By Mi Ok Kang


184 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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This book examines the political, ideological, and socio-cultural politics underlying the 2009 National Multicultural Curriculum Reform and recent multicultural education policies in South Korea. Unlike the conservative groups in Western countries who argue that supporting cultural diversity and the cultural rights of minority groups balkanizes ethnic differences and divides the community, the New Rights and the conservative groups in South Korea have been very supportive of multicultural discourses and practices and have created many multicultural policy agendas geared toward ushering in what have they called "the multicultural era."

Through the Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of government multicultural policy documents, a range of media sources, the 2009 national curriculum reform policy documents, and the 200 Korean language arts textbooks from 23 textbook publishers, Multicultural Education in South Korea: Language, ideology, and culture in Korean language arts education examines how the conservative Korean government’s interpretation and practices of multiculturalism have been infiltrated and challenged by progressive and migrant-led agents/agencies. The analysis of academic, official, and popular discourses on migrant Others is focused on, but not limited to:

  • "The multicultural era" and struggles for hegemonic power;

  • Politics of multicultural knowledge control in education and society;
  • Formation of discourses on multicultural society and multicultural education;
  • Examining the national curriculum: The politics of representing migrant Others; and
  • The hidden curriculum of multicultural education: Limitations and possibilities.

The author’s insightful discussion on the politics of knowledge, education, and teaching in multicultural societies will prove particularly useful to policy makers, think-tank officials, and academic scholars in education.


There is an urgent demand for this book in many countries in Asia such as South Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia where multicultural education is further complicated in the midst of diversification of languages, cultures, identities, communications, economics, ecological systems, and ways of lives around the world. There is also a need for some countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States, the U.K., France, and Germany where multicultural education has been initiated (e.g., Australia, Canada, and the U. S.), multicultural policies have been implemented in a certain degree, and has been further developing but face new challenges due to standardization, evaluation, and high stake testing. -- Ming Fang He, Professor of Curriculum Studies and Author of 'A River Forever Flowing: Cross-Cultural Lives and Identities in the Multicultural Landscape and Exile Curriculum: Compelled to Live In-Between.'

Table of Contents

1.Who Talks about Multiculturalism in South Korea? 2.“The Multicultural Era” and Struggles for Hegemonic Power 3.Politics of Multicultural Knowledge Control in Education and Society 4.Mapping the Pedagogic Device: The Interrelations between the Media, Policy Documents, and the National Curriculum 5.Formation of the Discourses on Multicultural Society and Multicultural Education 6.Examining the National Curriculum: The Politics of Representing Migrant Others 7.The Hidden Curriculum of Multicultural Education: Limitations and Possibilities

About the Author

Mi Ok Kang is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Utah Valley University.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Asian Education

In Asia, schooling, teaching and learning are undergoing major changes as a consequence of wider economic, social, cultural and political movements. The success of some Asian countries in international education benchmarks has redirected attention to the region. This is counterbalanced by other countries that are struggling to educate their citizens in the midst of political instability, ideological and religious tensions, poverty and natural disasters. In spite of such broad differences across countries in Asia, pioneering and innovative research is being conducted that is of increasing interest to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and governments worldwide.

The Routledge Critical Studies in Asian Education book series will examine key theoretical and empirical research on the changing institutional and cultural contexts of Asian education. The series aims to establish a strong platform for the critical discussion of educational practices and pedagogies in Asia, and is open to Asian and international researchers with a focus on the region. Interdisciplinary research is welcomed, including education, social sciences, psychology, organisational studies, economics, history, political science, cultural studies, and language and literacy.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
EDUCATION / Educational Policy & Reform / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies