Village is a geographical base for daily life representing various characteristics and vivid lives of villagers. That's why the method of village studies need to be extended to regional studies with interdisciplinary approach such as geography, histor ...
Village is a geographical base for daily life representing various characteristics and vivid lives of villagers. That's why the method of village studies need to be extended to regional studies with interdisciplinary approach such as geography, history, economics, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, folklore, etc.
Our research center (Chungnam National Univ. Village Studies Center) has surveyed various characteristical rural villages in Chungnam province for three years (from Sept. 2004. to Aug, 2007). The purpose of this study is to examine the socio-cultural identity of the Korean traditional villages from diachronic to synchronic perspectives. Nowadays Korean rural villages are going through rapid deconstruction under the modernization and urbanization, thus it became an urgent matter to collect village documents and materials
Our research focuses on; firstly, the life history of villages, secondly, the economical and geographical relations among villagers, thirdly, the socio-cultural identities of villages, fourthly, the political relationship among social groups in villages and lastly, the relationship between regional communities from micro to macro scale. Through these kinds of researching aspects, we have tried to explore the life histories and identities of the Korean traditional villages. Furthermore, we tried not to miss the changes and durability of villages identities .
We have achieved several meaningful products: the publication of forty five articles and nine village journals. Moreover, we've tried to get financial support from the provincial government in publishing village journals. And also by letting the villagers to participate in the survey, we have succeeded in villager - researcher cooperation in academical field.
In the course of this, we have gained some useful experiences. As we have mentioned earlier, village communities is a melting pot in which the lives of villagers, geographical environments and village histories, economies, customs, folklore and oral history etc. are inter-mingled synthetically. It was necessary to input interdisciplinary approach for this kind of regional study regardless of space scale. But we also have experienced several difficulties from our interdisciplinary approach, for our research group consists of various experts majored in different epistemology and academic field, it was difficult to unite and get coherent results. But one of the accomplishment of our research group was an experience of working closely with the provincial government. This relationship, we expect, gives a new model for research-official cooperation to other studies.
Finally we have to point out the limitations of this study. For example, it was difficult to collect village data and find appropriate interviewees who could dictate concrete situations and histories of villages. Thus, for the village study from local scale, a research group must prepare throughly before visiting village communities. We expect that these limitations will stimulate other regional studies. In light of that, we hope that our study will serve as a meaningful mile stone for the future village studies.