Reflexive modernity and reflexive informatization: a critique on the informatization of South Korea

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Kwon, Giheon

Issue Date
Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.14, pp. 41-59
In the wake of unbridled competition, institutionalized through indiscriminate capitalism and
glovalization, modern civilization, although it has brought us much to celebrate, has tightened up the in-trancic freedom of human beings. In this essay, we have reviewed problems and implications of the "reflexive modernity and information," shedding light on "human alienation" and "binding human consciousness." Were a visionary society dreamed in the upcoming century to be the one that opens the possibility to achieve individual freedom and creativity, it would boil down to the issue of "self-actualization" for the actors of society, the new principle should offer a hope to solve the probalem of "human alicnation" textured in an industrial society. This was a key theme examined in this essay. In this essay, we termed "reflexive" informatization for the informatization pointing to such direction. We then elaborated on its vision and ideas as well as its concepts and dimension and tired to organically connect its "theoretical paradigm" to the logic of an information policy.
The major findings and implications, analyzed in this essay, can be summarized as follows.
First, whatever advanced information superhighway, if there were no truly matured individuals armored with subjective personalities, will be useless to accomplish a "human community." A matured society, above all, we need to make efforts to implement a project boosting 'individual' consciousness, so that a truly autonomous personality can first accomplished.
Second, the opportunities for social communication, that is not distorted, should be promoted on the basis of information sovereignty and independance. For this kind of existential communication, mutural trust is prerequisite among the various actors in society, whether it is between individuals and individuals, or organizations and organizations.
Third, reflexivity on human and nature should be heightened through deepening existential communication. And this kind of informatization efforts should be fortified by a social reform that
is aiming at autonomy and originality, trust and empowerment, and coexistence and coprosperity.
Finally, to achieve reflexive informatization, endowed with the above-mentioned attributes, a
new approach and perspective is required. Above all, the government, free from bureaucratic
eliticism, should focus more on social values that emphasizes individual freedoms, independence,
and subjectivity. On a policy matter, the perspectives on individual information should be drastically
changed, and in this vein, information sovereignty and privacy issues need to be reemphasized.
In addition, the government should promote NGO activities by empowering them, particularly
in the sphere of information and civic culture.
The essence of an information network is in the spirit of "doing something together." The
quintessence to the "net" should be in the "spirit of collaboration." Reflexive informatization will be fulfilled when social reform progresses on the basis of this spirit, that is, the credos of
"sharing together, growing up together, and reaping together."
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Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원)Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과)Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총, KJPS)Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) vol.14 (1999)
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