This chapter attempts to ascertain the causes of the rapid growth of broadband services in the context of the broader socio-cultural elements. It recognizes technology as a socio-cultural product which has historically been constituted by certain forms of knowledge and social practice, so this chapter explores cultural elements contributing to the diffusion of broadband services in the context of the cultural environment in Korea. Further, this chapter discusses the significant role of the people, as users, in the process of the rapid diffusion and growth of broadband services. In particular, it emphasizes the way in which the 1997 economic crisis, as one of the most significant socio-cultural turning points in modern Korean history, has influenced the deployment of broadband services as high-speed Internet connections have developed since 1997.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Social Solidarity: The degree or type of integration of a society. In simpler societies, solidarity is usually based on kinship ties or familial networks. In more complex societies, solidarity is more organic, referring to the interdependence of the component parts. Thus, social solidarity is maintained in more complex societies through the interdependence of its component parts.
Confucianism: A philosophy of life developed by Confucius. It stressed the proper relationships in society, such as father/son and ruler/subject. The philosophies of Confucius are emphasizing love for humanity; high value given to learning, and devotion to family, peace, and justice.
Information technology (IT): Compared to the labor-led technologies and industries, information technology usually includes semiconductors, computers, and telecommunications, although some economists like to use the term “knowledge-based industry” in order to explain IT.
Convergence: Also known as digital convergence. The concept that all modern information technologies are becoming digital in nature. The technological trend whereby a variety of different digital devices such as TVs, in particular high-definition TVs, and mobile telephones are merging into a multi-use communications appliance employing common software to communicate through the Internet.
Online Games: Internet games (also known as online games) are games that are played online via the Internet. They are distinct from video and computer games in that they are normally platform independent, relying solely on client-side technologies. Normally all that is required to play Internet games are a Web browser and the appropriate “plug-in.”
1997 Economic Crisis: The Korean economy has gone from being an example of one of the most successful development experiences in modern history to economic stagnation and decline in 1997. From the middle of 1997, Korea was beset with a series of financial crises. The trend of decades of rising incomes reversed, and unemployment and poverty were reaching alarming levels. In particular, factors responsible for the decline in the value of exports then include a dramatic fall in the prices of some electronic and information equipment, in particular semiconductors, which had dire consequences for a number of countries in the East and South Asia region.
Edutainment: The combination of education and entertainment. Many people in the digital age use the Internet as a form of studying several subjects, in particular English while enjoying playing in cyberspace.