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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jacqueline Mosselson

Second Advisor

Moon-Kie Jung

Third Advisor

Bjorn Nordtveit

Subject Categories

International and Comparative Education


This study examines how Global Citizenship Education (GCE) is perceived and implemented in South Korea. GCE has received much attention worldwide among educators, policy makers, and organizations, as reflected by the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI), the Post-2015 education agenda, and The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Consistent with this global trend, the World Education Forum, held in South Korea, also facilitated interest and discussions in GCE in South Korea. Within the context of heightened interest in GCE both in the global society and South Korea as well, my dissertation explores the core features of GCE in South Korea focusing on rationales, contents, and implementation from a critical perspective.

The analysis in this study is informed by the concept of a critical approach of GCE (Andreotti, 2006; Davies, 2006; Shultz, 2007) along with critical social theories with particular emphases on the theory of hegemony, cultural reproduction, and critical race theory. This study employed a qualitative research approach relying on documents analysis and a series of interviews. I analyzed five teachers’ guidebooks for promotion of GCE developed by government related organizations. Interviews were conducted with twenty education stakeholders in charge of GCE including a government officer, three International organization staff, eight NGO workers, and eight teachers.

Through a critical analysis of GCE in South Korea, this study offers a detailed understanding of how different ideologies regarding GCE exist in a complex manner within a Korean context by extending the existing literature. This research demonstrates that despite the possibility of GCE serving as a counter-hegemonic force, the values and curricula of GCE in South Korea also reproduce hegemonic ideals of neoliberalism, dichotomous views of economic status, and binary views on core-periphery relationships. This study also illustrates conceptual and structural restraints that reinforce hegemonic ideas of GCE. Based on the findings, I argue GCE should be carefully addressed and implemented considering its different ideological foundations and aspects which potentially reinforce hegemonic ideas. Without taking these features into account, GCE may be well intended but in fact fails to open possibilities to transform discursive practices towards the values of social justice.