S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Center for Social Sciences (사회과학연구원) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Korean Social Sciences Review (KSSR) Vol.02, No.01-02 (2012)
Are Chinese and Korean Families Confucian?:An Interpretive Analysis of Representation in Chinese and Korean Dramas
- Kang, Myung Koo; Kim, Soo Ah
- Issue Date
- Korean Social Sciences Review(KSSR), Vol.2 No.1, pp. 131-150
- The purpose of this study is to look into how television dramas represent family as cultural institution differently in East Asia where Confucian familial culture has, as it is assumed, been imbedded historically and culturally. This study is an attempt to contest Confucian family value hypotheses which presume that East Asian countries share common family cultures and value orientations. The pre-examination of the television drama in China and Korea demonstrates that television dramas in both countries represent in very different ways.
While Korean television drama personalize family conflicts, Chinese drama tend to put
family conflicts in relations to social changes such as the Cultural Revolution or the Social Reform. For example, Go-bu conflicts (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) are the most popular theme of Korean drama. Even the class conflicts or gender issues happen in the context of personalized within-family relations. In such personalized within-family relations, drama
characters are not independent subjects, but only members of family (wife and husband,
mother or mother-in-law, etc.), In contrast, Chinese television represents drama characters as social actors who are connected to social changes. Major characters in Expectations which was the record-high watching rate drama after 1990s are deeply involved in historic events
such as the Cultural Revolution and Social Reforms in China. Two research questions were raised: First, what is the nature of family in television representations? Second, how have those qualities been formed culturally? The previous researches tried to answer the first question by analyzing drama texts. These studies simply assumed or interpreted that Korean drama kept the unchanged images of traditional or Confucian family culture and relations with no comparative analyses with other Confucian
cultures.The comparative analysis of this study shed some light on the different family
cultures and different family relations, rather than assuming Confucian culture underlies East Asian societies.