From Activism to Academia: STS in Korea

This exhibit aims to review the past works of Centre for Democracy in Science and Technology (CDST) in Korea, which was a representative figure of the Korean STS in its early stage. Examining the history of CDST is critical for understanding STS in Korea because they share the same pioneering members, those who opposed to the successive dictatorial regimes. 

Since its establishment in 1997, CDST played a major role in problematizing the dominant imaginary of science and technology (S&T) in Korea: S&T as a powerful driver of economic and social progress. CDST introduced the Consensus Conference model as a tool for decision-making in S&T issues and raised issues of oocyte donation and data fabrication in the Hwang Woo-Suk Scandal. The center’s vision of ‘democratic control of science and technology’ is appraised for its resonance among various social movements, such as environmentalists, woman’s health groups, and other organizations. 

On November 20, 2017, CDST was officially dissolved, leaving behind its 20-year history. However, the academic society of Korean STS, the Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies (KASTS), which shares the same founding members with CDST, still lives on. Transitions in STS groups could signal a critical turning point in the Korean STS academia as a whole. Going through the activities of CDST, with photos, books, and journals, this exhibit will provide audiences with a chance to follow the contour of STS in Korea, from past to present, and where it will be headed in the future. 

From Activism to Academia: STS in Korea members