Nader, Richard Harrison (2005-12). Cultural impacts on public perceptions of agricultural biotechnology: comparison between South Korea and the United States. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • According to Millar (1996), the gulf between science and society is growing. Technologies are tools cultures develop to solve society's problems. The rapid dispersion of science and technology across cultural borders through trade, technology transfer and exchange, increasingly requires people in different cultures to make choices about accepting or rejecting artifacts of science and technology such as genetically modified (GM) foods, which originate primarily from the United States. These issues challenge policy makers and scientists to account for the affects of different cultural perspectives on controversial scientific issues. Given the controversy across cultures over acceptance or rejection of genetically modified (GM) foods, GM foods are an excellent example with which to begin to reveal how culture impacts public perceptions of the risk and benefits of science and technology in different societies. This research will: 1. Define public awareness and understanding of science, specifically GM foods; 2. Examine culture's impact on knowledge, including different cultural approaches to research; and 3. Compare recent findings of a bi-national public opinion survey on GM comparing in South Korea and the United States. The proposed research outlines two research questions: 1) How and in what ways do South Koreans and Americans differ in their opinions about GMOs? This question is important for gathering current points of contrast about how the two cultures may differ; and 2) What role does culture play on opinion formation about GM foods? Through grounded theory, the researcher will investigate how cultural differences help explain opinion on public perceptions of GM foods. Is it possible to identify common cultural factors that impact public perceptions of GM foods between South Koreans and Americans? The study will utilize both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Higher education is a major producer of new science and technology. The study is significant for higher education administrators who must understand cultural factors impacting science internationally and globalization of the academic enterprise.

publication date

  • December 2005