Sport is a multifaceted phenomenon that is often utilized as a powerful agent for social and economic development. Individuals, institutions, businesses, and governments have actively leveraged sport to drive significant impact and development in a variety of social, economic, and political contexts in Korea and of Korean sports abroad. Although emphasis on the elite sport system and hosting mega events (e.g., 1988 Seoul Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics) may have contributed to gain significant international recognition and national pride, much less has been scrutinized or documented about the fundamental values, social implications, and complex dynamics of sport in the context of contemporary Korea. How do media representations of sport contribute to Korean nationalistic sentiments? How are sport articulated in cultural products (such as Hallyu)? How does Korea fit into the global promotion—and the reception of that promotion—of martial arts such as Taekwondo? How does/whether policy-setting around mega events widen the disparity between elite and amateur sport? What are the challenges for sport properties and facilities to become more financially viable? What is the current state of players’ association in Korean professional sport industry? What are the effects of scandals such as sport betting and match-fixing on not only the sport industry in Korea, but also on Korea’s national self-image? What important challenges and issues remain for exploration to understand sport’s full potential in making positive and sustainable economic impact and social utilities in Korea?
Taking a multidisciplinary approach, the international conference, “(Re)-Discovering Sport in Korea: Guts, Glory, and Geurimja” hopes to bring together scholars from across disciplines to address any and all aspects of the phenomenon of sport and the physical culture in contemporary Korea. This conference, sponsored by the University of Michigan Nam Center for Korean Studies, School of Kinesiology, and the Academy of Korean Studies, is not only the first conference to contemplate Korea in the context of sports, but also will be the largest academic gathering in the United States dedicated to various themes around Korean sports. We hope to channel the integrative and cohesive characteristics inherent in sport into this conference to discover—or re-discover—the role of sport in Korea. The goal of this conference is to encourage, support, and showcase research that examines the role of sport in Korea from a multitude of perspectives.
Sponsored by the University of Michigan Nam Center for Korean Studies, School of Kinesiology, and the Academy of Korean Studies