* You can find the full version of my research statement here

Research Focus 

Political Corruption and Social Movements

Grand Corruption as a Complex Secret and the Impact of the 2016-2017 Candlelight Revolution in Korea on Anti-Corruption Campaigns (with Ion Bogdan Vasi and Chanhum Yoon)

This project examines the influence of social movements on anti-corruption campaigns. Recent studies on corruption show that most reform efforts confront many complex challenges and therefore fail to produce positive outcomes. By examining South Korea's corruption scandal in 2016 and the 2016-2017 Candlelight Movement, the first part of this project explores how political corruption as a complex secret becomes discovered (with Ion Bogdan Vasi and Chanhum Yoon). First I analyze historical newspaper texts to understand how the corrupt relationships around President Geun-hye Park had been stayed hidden until the media reports in 2016. In addition, a document embedding technique is used to understand the 2016-2017 Candlelight Revolution in South Korea and its influence on the impeachment of President Geun-hye Park. This project is currently funded by the Academy of Korean Studies’ Academic Research program. 

Social Movements, Cultural Artifacts, and Collective Memories: 

The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Modification of Confederate Statues in the US 

The 'Comfort Women' Movement and the Diffusion of Statues of Peace in South Korea 

Using an analysis of the campaign of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement to remove Confederate statues in the U.S. and the campaign to build “comfort women” statues in South Korea (and global cities in the world), I examine how social movements reshape public imagination and interpretations of the past. Methodologically, this project explores variations in the cultural impact of these social movements on the process of statue-removing and statue-building. I analyze both the general pattern of the diffusion of the social movement ideas and the variations in the composition of activist groups, such as who gets involved in local coalitions dedicated to building statues (the Korean case) and what actor(s) remove statues (the US case). 


The Influence of Quantification on Higher Education: 

The Rise of New Ranking Expertise in Higher Education: Workplace and Relational Changes  

A growing body of literature examines the proliferation of quantification in contemporary organizations. Drawing on a 14-month ethnographic study of Korean higher education and 100 in-depth interviews with key actors in this field, I trace the influence of university rankings and other quantitative evaluations on higher education, particularly focusing on workplace and relational changes. Two papers of this project has been published in Theory and Society and Higher Education (with Michael Sauder). I am also working on developing a theory of microinstitutional change that shows how the moral framing of new technology can contribute to change. Lastly, with Joonwoo Son, I am writing a review article that surveys the literature on quantification in organizational sociology, political sociology, and economic sociology. This project is also funded by the Academy of Korean Studies’ Academic Research program (2022, 2018). 

Other Collaborative Projects:

Generalization in Non-Quantitative Sociological Research: A Comparative Work of the US, India, and Korea (with Swati Chintala, Michael Sauder, and Gabriel Abend) 

Literary Prizes and the Survival of Early Creative Writers (with Inkwan Chung)

The Effects of Postpartum Care Centers on New Mothers (with Jihye Kim)

The Designation of "Human Trafficking" Countries (with Yooneui Kim)