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Seoul Cultural Diversity Agenda and Policy Direction

Do-Sam NaㆍYun-Jung ChoㆍJung-Hyun Lee

The objective of this study is to suggest future directions for the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s cultural diversity policy. Cultural diversity is a basic principle of ‘Cultural Democracy’ and it refers to the phenomenon where all class and group cultures are reflected equally in the culture, as opposed to there being one dominant culture. While the notion of cultural diversity initially emerged from the process of globalization, in particular during the Uruguay Round, in reality, the term has its roots in the influx of migrants and the expression of ‘gender’ as well as other forms of self-identity. That is cultural diversity helps create an environment that allows everyone to freely express their personal values and philosophies.

In an effort to embrace cultural diversity, the Seoul Metropolitan Government enacted the Seoul Metropolitan Government Ordinance on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity in 2017. However, this ordinance contains elements that have the potential to harm, rather than protect, cultural diversity, such as limiting the scope of cultural diversity to ‘established social morals and customs’. Hence, through an expert survey, this study examines potential future directions of the policy as well as amendments of the ordinance on cultural diversity. We conclude that the current ordinance should be amended to ensure that cultural diversity is protected and additionally argue for the need to improve the overall system, such as forming cultural diversity commissions comprised of target groups of cultural diversity.


This study proposes the policy vision of ‘Seoul City of Culture and Citizens, where discrimination based on differences does not exist and differences are respected’ and suggests ‘City of Culture and Citizens where all citizens are respected’ and ‘Civic culture that embraces and celebrates people’s differences’ as policy objectives. To implement this vision, we selected seven target areas including ‘disability’, ‘ethnicity·race·nation’, ‘gender·sexual orientation’, ‘age’, ‘region’, ‘religion·beliefs’, and ‘subculture’, and set the main policy directions as △protecting and promoting minority culture, △creating a civic culture of coexistence, and △establishing a foundation for cultural diversity policies.