South Korea/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.2 National definition of culture

The official definition of culture is to be found in the provisions of 『Act on Promoting Culture and the Arts(1972)』. ‘Culture and the arts’ refers to literature, fine arts (including the applied arts), music, dance, drama, cinema, artistic entertainment, traditional music, photography, architecture, language, and publishing (Article 1). Apart from this official definition of culture, Korean cultural policy has acknowledged the spiritual and intangible aspect and of human activity. Since the Korean Constitution proclaims in its ninth clause that “the country bears a duty to make efforts to develop traditional culture and deliver it to the future generation and thereby contributing to the progress of national culture”, all aspects of everyday cultural life from traditional conventions to ways of living were perceived to be the area of cultural policy. This is made more vivid in another statute, namely the 「Cultural Heritage Preservation Act」, which includes various types of intangible heritage as worthy of preservation and protection

It is only recent that cultural industry has been occupying a stable status within the concept of culture. As the cultural policy field expanded to encompass the cultural industry, major changes have taken place. There has been a continuing debate as to whether or not the cultural industry, or called the ‘creative industry’, should be included in the category of cultural policy. Even within ‘cultural industry’, the spectrum is wide to cover artistic products (musicals, cinema, design etc.) and products of digital technology (online game programs, game machines, character goods etc.).

For the period of 2008 to 2012, the whole digital content industry was absorbed to the field of cultural policy because technological component had been perceived to be critical for the development of cultural industry, namely “Cultural Technology”. The Ministry of Culture’s organizational emphasis has been also altered to reflect the priority for the cultural industry among its sub fields of cultural policy. Office of Cultural Content Industry was placed at the forefront among other offices. White Paper for cultural industry is published independently reflecting the importance as a quasi independent field in the cultural policy area.

Chapter published: 29-11-2013