April 23, 2014

Stop Blaming Ferry Disaster on South Korean Culture

Jakob Dorof, Vice

The Associated Press

In truth, however, the catch-all of “South Korean culture,” or even neo-Confucian obedience in particular, fails to account for what happened on Wednesday. The problem with such arguments is their suggestion not only that the Sewol crew and harbor officials were blinded from moral responsibility by cultural programming, but also that the hundreds of students and others left on the ship were socially hardwired automatons who, though cognizant of their ability to escape, felt too inhibited by a respect for their elders to move. This is excessively reductive, for one, but falls apart altogether when you consider that many of the people who stayed onboard were in fact elders of the crew. Furthermore, if Confucian doctrine were the be-all and end-all under these circumstances,...

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TAGGED: Sewol, South Korea


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