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Sustainable Conservation of a Difficult Heritage in South Korea: Mapping the Conservation Resources of Sorok-do Island, Hansen’s Disease Site

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Jang, Seong-Gon 
Lee, Hyun Kyung 
Kang, Dong-Jin 


jats:pSouth Korea’s Sorok-do island bears witness to the 100-year history of the Sorok-do hospital and the village for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) patients. All the facilities of Sorok-do were established by the Japanese imperial authorities, and the collective memories of social isolation and discrimination against Hansen’s disease patients were deeply embedded in this island during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Despite changing perceptions toward the conservation of the island’s history since the 1990s, the island’s deep collective memory remains at risk due to the increasing number of incoming settlers and the shrinking number of Hansen’s disease patients since the opening of the Sorok Bridge in 2009. Taking into consideration the historical lack of critical engagement with difficult heritage conservation in South Korea, this paper introduces a novel approach to sustainable conservation, using as a case study the Sorok-do island. We collected data using archival research, participant observation and semi-structured in-depth interviews, and analyzed them by using a position-mapping method. This paper examines the island’s multifaceted, shifting processes within its history, urban structure, and changing social meanings, and offers a new set of criteria for long-term strategies that will ensure both tangible and intangible types of conservation resources.</jats:p>



4302 Heritage, Archive and Museum Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 3 Good Health and Well Being

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