Posner, Simon: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Anthropology
Project Title: 
Capitalism and the Future: Entrepreneurs in South Korea’s Creative Economic Startup Ecosystem
Project Abstract: 
In 2013, South Korean President Park Geunhye revealed an ambitious plan to transform Korea into a “Creative Economy” by establishing a startup ‘ecosystem’ throughout the peninsula to foster and encourage entrepreneurship nationwide. The efforts towards this initiative have converged in Gangnam, the wealthiest urban distinct of Seoul, that is now leading the push to transform Korea into a global entrepreneurial hub. My proposed dissertation research explores the ways in which South Korean startup entrepreneurs are shaped by, interpret, negotiate, and enact the future in the context of Korea’s Creative Economic startup ecosystem. The fundamental concern that drives this research is the relation between capitalism and the future: rather than assume that capitalism expands naturally, research has shown that it radiates through the arduous and deeply uncertain labor of those who seek to shape the world to facilitate the formation of markets. Support over the coming summer will make possible essential preliminary work towards my broader dissertation research.