Images of life and learning-a postmodern qualitative study of five Korean people's published oral history
Kang, Dae Joong
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The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of the socio-cultural-historical context on learning as it contributes to the construction of people’s lives. In particular, this study examined how the 20th century Korean socio-cultural-historical context and the lifelong learning of Korean people co-construct one another. The following research questions guided the study: (1) What are the patterns of learning activities among the people? (2) What was the socio-cultural-historical context that influenced their life and learning? (3) How did the patterns of learning activities emerge in conjunction with the socio-cultural-historical context? This study analyzed five narratives from the Korean People’s Oral History Series published by the Deep-Rooted Publishing House in Korea. The Series contains life narratives of twenty Korean people who were born between 1898 and 1926. I selected five for this study Ki-nam (book three, Janggu drummer), Na-sop (book seven, onggi potter), So-shim (book nine, Kanggangsullae performer), Myong-hwan (book eleven, pansori drummer), and Tong-jong-wol (book fifteen, Kayageum player). I used postmodern content analysis that I developed through a critique of various content analysis methods. Postmodern content analysis is concerned with two different kinds of data source data and assembling data. By using reading and writing as a method of inquiry, I took assembling data notes and analysis notes while I was reading the source data. Repeated readings and writings evolved into findings. Findings were presented in the form of essay. The first four essays presented four different figurations of lifelong learning escaping, creating, controlling, and formalizing. They are the patterns of learning activities. The influences of the Korean socio-cultural-historical context were described in each figuration essay. The figuration essays had different styles and are composed as interrogative text. The fifth essay described the sameness and differences of the four figurations among the five people to show multiple emergences of learning activities. The findings of this study were discussed in terms of how they contribute to producing different images of the learner. Images of the learner out of figurations were compared with images of the learner out of adult learning theories escaping (community of practice), creating (informal learning), controlling (transformational learning, experiential learning), and formalizing (informal learning).