Understanding the relationship between new networked information technology and governance in China and South Korea

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Stuart J. Thorson


State-society relationship, New networked information technology, Governance, China, Korea, Information technology

Subject Categories

Communication | Mass Communication | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The main objective of this dissertation is to empirically assess the relationship between new networked information technology and governance in China and South Korea. This research strongly supports Pierre Levy's argument on the relationship between technology and society. He said "Technology is produced within a culture, and a society is conditioned by its technologies. Conditioned, not determined. The difference is critical" (Levy, 2001: 7). Therefore, this research assessed how the existing political and economic institutions of these two countries shape NNITs and vice versa. On one hand, it focused on how NNITs were produced within the existing structure and, on the other hand, how they conditioned the same structure.

China and South Korea have been used as cases to evaluate the impacts of NNITs on governance. To gain a broad and balanced picture of the impact of NNITs in China and South Korea, this research examines the use NNITs in two comprehensive categories: the state and society. Since our main debate deals with governance instead of government, the NNITs' impact on each society is very important in understanding the challenge that each political institution has faced recently.

The most common use of the NNITs in the state category includes electronic government. The e-government programs were adopted to help China and South Korea to strengthen their state's capacity through administrative reform and citizen participation. The impacts of NNITs on governance in both countries were appraised by analyzing the role of e-government in enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of the public sector. This dissertation also explored the way in which citizens used NNITs to gather information, exchange views, and, organize protests and rallies that eventually influenced the leaders' decisions on policy-making.

Furthermore, in considering the impact of the NNITs in both countries, the full national context in which that impact occurs must be considered. For this reason, this research investigated the basic political, economic, and social dynamics of each country, considering such factors as the state's role in economic growth; the presence and strength of political opposition forces; the relationship between central and local governments and government and civil society.


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