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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 13(2); 2004 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2004;13(2): 315-334.
한국인의 몸을 통해 본 동서의학
Encounters of the Korean Body with Traditional and Modern Medical Systems
Shin Ik Kang
Department of Medical Humanities School of Medicine Inje University, Korea.
The body has been an intense focus of attention since the 1990s both in academic and mundane discourse. In philosophy, literature critique, sociology and anthropology the body has been found to have various implications and auras around it. I try to explain the body as the subject of medicine rather philosophically, in terms of nature, culture and phenomena. And then I look into the Korean body of the late 19th century when western biomedicine was first introduced. The Korean body was encountering traditional and modern biomedical medicines in three different spaces i.e., corporal, social and moral. The corporal space was the space into which direct intervention such as surgery was performed. The body was also situated in the social space where imperative social measures such as sanitation and sterilization was imposed. The body also had the moral space, invasion into which evoked great moral upheaval. It was when the government ordered the public to cut the long and bound hair, which had long been the symbol of their identity. Reflecting upon the philosophical perspectives and examining concrete cases of the encounters of the body with the two medical systems, I argue that we should have new perspective that embodies the historical and phenomenological experience of the body.
Key Words: body, nature, culture, phenomena, corporal space, social space, moral space
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