Abstract - The Information Society 32(3)

On the Historiography of the Korean Internet: Issues Raised by the Historical Dialectic of Structure and Agency

Kwang-Suk Lee

The history of the development of the Internet in Korea has focused on technical breakthroughs, policy initiatives, and court decisions. In their preoccupation with institutional actors and technologies, Korean Internet history studies have overlooked the role of bottom-up activities in the shaping of the Korean Internet has been overlooked.  The reality is that in Korea there have been periods in which state control has weakened the right to free speech of online users, and other periods in which control has led to the generation of new strains of counterculture, with capacities for free speech enabled by new technologies.  This structure–agency tug-of-war dynamic has shaped the development of the Internet in Korea and scholars need to pay equal attention to top-down initiatives and bottom-up activities. 

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