2020 서울도시인문학 지원사업 공모

2020 Global Research Program

Call For Papers Global Urban Humanities Designated Research Program of The Seoul Institute
for ‘The Seoul Platform for Initiating Discourses on Equitable and Resilient Society(SPIDERS)’

The Seoul Institute (SI) is calling for papers on twelve designated topics related to fundamental social change for the better. The twelve designated topics are outlined below. The papers should be previously unpublished work free from plagiarism submitted in English (or Korean in the case of Korean writers). The SI Editorial Board will select up to 20 papers (1 or more from each topic) on the basis of abstracts and short biographies. The selected papers will be published online under a Creative Commons license BY-NC-ND. The authors may also be invited for online forums to talk about their works. The SI will pay the authors a one-time royalty of 5 million KRW (i.e. about 4,000 USD) before tax and transaction fees after publishing the papers online by the end of February 2021.

Submissions are encouraged from all fields related to discourses on equitable and resilient society for a ‘good-life oriented’ society, such as philosophy, political economy, social policy, sociology, environmental studies, and politics.

The submission of papers will be conducted in three phases: an abstract, a short essay, and a final manuscript. All writings should be in English (or Korean in the case of Korean writers).

Abstract Submission Guidelines​

  • Abstract: should be no longer than 500 words and contain the research topic, main question(s), thesis, and preliminary findings.
  • Short Biography: should be around 100 words and include a brief introduction of who you are and a list of several published research papers or books.
  • Submission: The Abstract and Short Biography should be sent as one Microsoft word(.doc or .docx) or PDF file to uh2020@si.re.kr indicating “SPIDERS Abstract(topic number) - Surname” in the subject of the e-mail
  • Deadline: 1 pm, 24 September 2020 (KST)
  • Results Announcement: Successful candidates will be announced on the Seoul Humanities website (http://seoulhumanities.or.kr) and contacted individually on 29 September 2020.
  • For questions and concerns, please contact uh2020@si.re.kr

12 Designated Topics​

I. The Principles and Value Orientations of Alternative Social Systems
1 Eco-Friendly Society: A World in Which Individuals Live a Good Life in Harmony with Society and Nature.
2 Reshaping Democracy in Accordance with the Principle of Autonomy
3 Rewriting Economics and Restructuring the Economy: A Paradigm Shift from Economic Growth to the Good Life
II. New Social-Economic Policies and Institutions for the Good-Life-Oriented Society
4 Money in the 21st Century and New Fiscal-Monetary Policies.
5 Green New Deal: Climate Crisis, Industrial Restructuring, and Just Transition
6 Cosmo-Local Production: Resetting the Relations of Production
7 Urban Commons: Reconstituting Space and the City
8 Insecure Employment I: Reshaping the Labor Market
9 Insecure Employment II: Making a Revision of Social Welfare Policies
10 Social Democratic Economy: Resetting Social Relations and Rebuilding Local Communities
III. Alternative Political Economic Systems
11 The Crisis of Political Economic System and its Future in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic
12 Alternative National Accounting: From an Account System of Money Costs to That of Social and Environmental Costs

Important Dates and Procedures

Tentative dates, deadlines, and procedures (subject to change).

  • Abstract: 1 pm, 24 September 2020 (KST), see details below.
  • Results Announcement: 29 September 2020
  • Contract Duration: 1 October 2020 – 31 January 2021 (4 months)
    • Individual contract between The Seoul Institute and authors will be signed and shared electronically via email.
  • Short Essay: 30 November 2020
    • Short Introduction or Summary of 1400-1500 words to be sent to uh2020@si.re.kr indicating “SPIDERS Essay (topic number) - Surname” in the subject of the email by 30 November 2020.
    • The Short Essays will be posted online on the Seoul Humanities homepage
  • Final Manuscript: 31 January 2021
    • Final Manuscript of 8000~9000 words to be sent to uh2020@si.re.kr indicating “SPIDERS Final Manuscript (topic number) - Surname” in the subject of the email by 31 January 2021.
    • Final Manuscript should be of academic standard, never been published elsewhere before the submission date, and free from plagiarism.
    • References should adhere to APA Reference with the Harvard Citation Style.
  • Electronic Publication: 26 February 2021
    • Revised papers will be published online on the Seoul Humanities website (http://seoulhumanities.or.kr) under a Creative Commons license BY-NC-ND.
  • Royalty Payment: By the end of February 2021
    • Royalty payment will be made in tandem with the online publication of the papers


The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the shaky foundations on which our current social system, i.e. the global liberal order, is built. Its modus operandi, the so-called self-regulating market, not only malfunctioned but also accelerated the social instability across the world. In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, the intricately interwoven global financial markets were sinking into total chaos and panic. As the prices of most traded assets such as stocks, bonds, oil, and commodity futures plunged, the markets were indeed teetering on the brink of collapse. Job markets also greatly aggravated the chaotic situation. Amid growing uncertainty of the global economy, hundreds of millions of people worldwide lost their jobs. In the US, the guardian of the liberal world order, alone, the unemployment insurance weekly claims soared to about 25 million at its peak in May. The global trading market was no exception. The global supply chain, one of the main pillars of the neoliberal globalization, for a short period at least, virtually ground to a halt. Ironically, many of the world’s largest economies suffered this disruption more than others did. Failing to procure necessary medical equipment such as masks and ventilators on their own, they stood helpless to act against the virus.

Running counter to the neoliberal mantra, the recent disaster has exposed that “free markets” could not have managed to survive without heavy government intervention that includes zero interest rates, unlimited quantitative easing, pandemic subsidy programs, and the central banks’ unlimited bond-buying plans. Yet it is said that the COVID-19 pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg. What if we are facing another wave of external shocks, this time severer than COVID-19? Catastrophic ecological disasters which may exterminate human species on Earth loom large. It is highly unlikely that a society blindly pursuing profits and economic growth can cope with them. It is not a cure for the problems but the root cause of them.

Although governments across the world have been playing crucial roles in dealing with the pandemic and preventing societal collapse, their actions are still focused on getting back to “normal”: the growth-oriented market society. The so-called “new normal” mostly refers to an “untact” industry-centered market society. Indeed, they succeeded in recovering their economies but only partially. For instance, the US stock market indexes keep hitting record highs while its real economy remains in a desperate situation akin to the Great Depression. Regardless of policymakers’ intentions, their actions aimed to combat COVID-19 and its negative social impacts have widened the gap between the rich and the poor in terms of both wealth and health. Whereas the wealthy have become richer with the governments’ unlimited support for the financial sector, the vulnerable population, who lost jobs and income, have been disproportionately suffered. As many statistical analyses have shown, the latter was far more exposed to the virus than the former.

In order to brace for future disasters and emergencies, we need fundamental social change - a transition from a profit-oriented society to a “good-life-oriented” one. The former is exacerbating social problems as well as environmental crises. Unless structural problems immanent in the liberal order are addressed, “state interventionism” will fall short of what is required for the social change we need. In other words, if atomized individualism, the sanctification of private property, the myth of the invisible hand, and plutocracy remain intact, it is of no use for the state to be in the driver’s seat. A new society needs a new philosophy, a new view of the world that enables human beings to live in harmony with nature; that puts people before profits; that replaces the unfair, unlevel playing field of the current society with a fairer, level one; and that which lays the foundation for organizing the society collectively in a more democratic way.

As the slogan of the World Social Forum which was put forward in opposition to the neoliberal motto of “TINA” proclaims, “another world is possible.” And it is high time to start building a new world. Considering the urgency of the climate and societal crisis, there may not be another chance.

In light of what was mentioned above, the Seoul Institute (SI) on behalf of the City of Seoul is launching a project to put our heads together. The project, “Seoul Platform for Initiating Discourses on Equitable and Resilient Society (SPIDERS),” aspires to be a web of wisdom for a better future.