| Home | E-Submission | Sitemap | Editorial Office |  
Korean J Med Hist > Volume 22(2); 2013 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2013;22(2): 483-528.
doi: https://doi.org/10.13081/kjmh.2013.22.483
18세기 의관 이수기(李壽祺)의 자기인식: 기술직 중인의 전문가의식을 중심으로
YI Suki's Yoksimanpil and the Professional Identity of a Chung'in Medical Official in Eighteenth Century Choson Korea
Kie Bok Yi
Program in History and Philosophy of Science, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. kiebok@hanmail.net
Received: June 30, 2013;  Accepted: July 22, 2013.  Published online: August 31, 2013.
About one hundred years after the publication of Tonguibogam (1613), a physician at the court YI Suki (1664-?) wrote a medical manuscript titled Yoksimanpil (Miscellaneous Jottings on Medical Experiences and Tests, 1734). As indicated in its title, Yoksimanpil was a medical essay composed of 130 medical case histories, drawing on what YI Suki himself had experienced in his medical practices. This paper examines the messages YI Suki in Yoksimanpil tried to address to his fellow Korean doctors, and by doing so illuminates an aspect of the medicine in the late Choson period. The argument goes that YI Suki wrote Yoksimanpil as a vehicle for promulgating his professional identity as a bureaucratic physician who belonged to the network of the chung'in technical officials-a group of government technical functionaries in late Choson Korea. Throughout the late Choson period, the chung'in technical officials had been discriminated, institutionally and socioculturally, against the yangban literati, while their promotion to honored higher positions was blocked. It was in the late 17th and early 18th century that a group of chung'in officials tried to secure their sociocultural places for their professional activity, thus bringing to light their social and professional identity in Choson society. A member of the network of the chung'in technical officials in the early 18th century, YI Suki was in an effort to position himself as a doctor somewhere between the medical tradition and the Confucian literary tradition. In these sociocultural contexts, we can see more clearly what YI Suki tried to speak of in his book and the historical meaning of the medical writing Yoksimanpil. First, the way he practiced medicine was testing and confirming what the received medical textbooks had asserted (Chunghomkobang). This style of practicing medicine could be viewed as a reflection of the comprehensivity trait of bureaucratic court physicians network YI Suki belonged to. Also this type of practice has the implication that YI Suki himself was a well-versed practitioner following the medical textual tradition, which was closely associated with the medical officials network. The emergence of the practice Chunghomkobang could be better understood in the backdrop of over 100 years of maturation process of Tonguibogam in the clinical practices. Second, he formulated the professional identity of physicians only in terms of medical proficiency without recourse to the Confucian literary tradition. In other words, in promoting the social status of medicine, he did not resort to Confucian morality. He instead emphasized his dexterity or resourcefulness in dealing with millions of ever-changing diseases (Imsikwonbyon). Conceivably, this way of characterizing his own medical practice-by way of strongly combining the textual tradition and the experiential tradition while keeping distance with the Confucian literary tradition-reflected the complexity of the ambivalent identity of the technical chung'in officials, especially in regard to Confucianism, between Confucian physicians and hereditary doctors. All in all, YI Suki presented himself as an ideal image of the physician, which arguably reflected the sociocultural and academic context of the network of the chung'in technical officials in early 18th century Choson Korea.
Key Words: YI Suki, Yoksimanpil, medical case history, medical officer, bureaucratic court doctor, Chung'in, professionalism, doctor's identity, the 18th-century, the late Choson period
PDF Links  PDF Links
Full text via DOI  Full text via DOI
Download Citation  Download Citation
Related article
Editorial Office
The Korean Society for the History of Medicine,
Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea
222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea (06591)
TEL: +82-2-3147-8306   FAX: +82-2-3147-8480   E-mail: medhistory@hanmail.net
About |  Browse Articles |  Current Issue |  For Authors and Reviewers |  KSHM HOME
Copyright © The Korean Society for the History of Medicine.                 Developed in M2PI