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Integration Processes in the Circulation of Knowledge

Cases from Korea


Edited By Marion Eggert and Florian Pölking

Korea, geographically situated at cultural crossroads, has a long history of creative engagement with knowledge from outside sources. This volume discusses processes of knowledge integration – of interpretive adaptation, dissection, selection and re-assemblage, of reduction and amplification, as well as of blending with existing cognitive structures – in pre-modern and early modern times. The articles assembled deal with a wide range of sources (including material objects as carriers of knowledge) and with diverse fields of knowledge, spanning the realms of philosophy, religion, literature, military and technical knowledge, and political thought. Together, they richly illustrate the transformative powers inherent in re-configurations of knowledge.
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Marion Eggert - Introduction


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Marion Eggert


What happens when a canon of pre-existing knowledge, or a structured conglomeration of ideas that form a societal consensus, are challenged by “new,” hitherto unavailable or ignored knowledge? What are the mechanisms and intellectual tools with which individuals and groups come to terms with cognitive dissonances arising from the conflicts of knowledge items or knowledge systems, or from the sheer strangeness of the new? Why and how is the new accepted as knowledge (i.e. as “true,” “valid,” or “a given”)1 by individuals, and how do the latter convince others of their new insights? Are processes of integrating new elements on the structural level (i.e. in the case of literary texts: genre, literary device) and on the semantic level (i.e. in the case of literary texts: characters, plots, motifs) fully equivalent?

These were some of the questions guiding a conference conducted at Ruhr University Bochum in 2013, the results of which are presented in the volume at hand. Interest in cultural change, both synchronically as the result of cultural contact and diachronically as the result of “internal” developments, has become one of the dominant fields of inquiry in the humanities during the last decades, with research on knowledge systems and the nature of knowledge change as one of its major sub-fields. The research project conducted jointly between Ruhr University Bochum and Freie Universität Berlin in the framework of which the 2013 conference was held has devoted itself...

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