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Title: The Social Construction of Internet Addiction: A Comparative Study of South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
Authors: Park, Arum
Advisors: DiMaggio, Paul
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Comparative study
Internet addiction
Mental health
Social problem
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: With the increase in the penetration rate of the internet, concerns about its impact on society have also begun to rise. One of such concerns is internet addiction. Despite the ongoing debates over the nature of internet addiction, the problem relating to the excessive use of the internet is now extensively recognized worldwide as a newly emerging social problem. Although South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. have a well-established ICT infrastructure for internet access, similar usage patterns, and penetration rate in common, the three countries are at different phases of social construction of internet addiction, having a varied level of recognition, intensity of concern, pace of response, and direction of policies. So, what are the social, cultural, political, and institutional aspects of a society that have contributed to the variety of the framing of the same phenomenon? This project attempts to answer the questions of why internet addiction was selected to be a social problem and by whom, what are the qualifications of someone who is an authority on internet addiction, and what factors contribute to the varied responses to internet addiction in different societies. For finding the answers to these questions, I will focus particularly on the role of three major institutions as claims-makers: the mass media, academia, and the government. Drawing on 781 newspaper articles published between 1993 and 2013, 651 academic articles published between 1996 and 2014, and government documents, I have studied and compared the social construction of internet addiction in South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. The findings indicate that the construction of this new social problem of internet addiction is based on the combined effect of new technology such as internet, public health such as addiction and mental disorders, and social institutions such as the mass media, academia, and the government. The interactions, conflicts, and exchange of influence between domestic and international institutions as well as between institutions within a national society have constructed a social meaning of internet addiction that varies in each society.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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