Below is a description of Steven’s ongoing research projects. The first (I) is his Ph.D dissertation on recent changes and variations in South Korean national identity. The second (II) describes an individual and collaborative project with colleagues from the Sino-NK community on contemporary Korean ethnic and national identity. The third (III) regards his work with the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto on the digital economy and ICT innovation in Canada.

I. The Foundations of National Identity in Post-autocratic South Korea

What is the relationship between political system type and national identity? This dissertation investigates how democratic reforms in South Korea affected the national identities of citizens by comparing opinions across generations. Using a research design similar to that employed by scholars studying post-Communist societies, I look at whether people who were socialized under democracy and post-material conditions have national identities different from those who came of age under autocracy; or, alternatively, whether identity changes is driven by other factors. This study uses pooled cross-sectional data from the Korean Identity Survey and the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) between the period 2003 and 2015. It also compares responses between native South Koreans and resettled North Korean migrants, taking advantage of using survey responses from the latter group collected by the author.

Forthcoming, Winter 2018.

II. Reproducing Contested Identities and Social Structures on the Korean Peninsula

Reproducing Contested Identities and Social Structures on the Korean Peninsula is an in-depth investigation into Korean nationalisms and mechanisms of national identity construction among resettled North Korean defectors (living in South Korea), South Koreans, and ethnic Koreans living in China. It incorporates survey- and interview-based research and facilitates the creation of a database of responses on the formation of national identity within the groups identified. The database will be used for collaborative and individual research outputs.

Selection of preliminary findings, publications, and manuscripts in progress:


New Settlers: Insights into the Social and Political Transformation of the Korean Peninsula [In preparation], with Christopher Green]

This book is a comparative study of North and South Korea from the perspective of “new settlers” (saetomin) from North Korea. This group is unique in that they bear the right to citizenship in both Koreas and have experienced living in divergent political, social, and economic conditions. What do their views, opinions, and perspectives reveal about the changes and transformations taking place in North and South Korea? The empirical focus of this book is an opinion survey of 352 North Korean migrants currently residing in South Korea conducted in 2016. It asks their opinion of various characteristics of South and North Korea: the political regimes (democracy/socialism), economic systems (capitalist/socialist), and various elements of society. The survey was administered by a research team lead by the authors and funded by the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS), the University of Toronto, and the Institute for Area Studies at Leiden University. The survey findings are complemented by 115 in-depth interviews that probe answers and insights from the survey.


“National Identity and Historical Legacy: The Rise of An Jung-geun,” with Christopher Green. [Revise and Resubmit]

“Nation and Belonging: Young Chinese Koreans in Yanbian Today,” with Christopher Green and Dr. Adam Cathcart. [In preparation for journal submission]


2014. “How Authoritarian Regimes Maintain Domain Consensus: North Korea’s Information Strategies in the Kim Jong-un Era,” with Adam Cathcart and Christopher Green, Review of Korean Studies, Vol. 17, No. 2: 145-178.

2014. “South Korea and a New Nationalism in an Era of Strength and Prosperity,” with Karl Friedhoff, Stanford Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 121-129.


2016. “Kim Jong-un and the Practice of Songun Politics,” with Christopher Green and Adam Cathcart, Change and Continuity in North Korean Politics, Adam Cathcart et al. (eds.) (Routledge, 2016).

2016. “The Whisper in the Ear: Re-defector Press Conference as Information Management Tool,” in On Korea: Volume 8 (Korean Economic Institute, 2016).


2016. “From hero to zero: North Korea’s failure in Yanbian,” with Christopher Green, NK News Pro, June 14.

2015. “The Whisper in the Ear: Re-defector Press Conference as Information Management Tool,” with Christopher Green and Brian Gleason, Korean Economic Institute, March 12.

2013. South Korea and a New Nationalism in an Era of Strength and Prosperity,”with Karl Friedhoff, CSIS PacNet #75, October 7.

III.  Creating Digital Opportunity

The Innovation Policy Lab, in association with lead partner, the Canadian International Council, have established a new research partnership to produce the knowledge required to move forward. The Research Partnership on the Digital Economy, including members from 16 universities and 12 partner organizations, are working together with the goal of situating Canada’s digital opportunity in a global context. This will encourage policymakers to strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness and contribute to a broader public debate throughout the country with regard to what kind of political economy the country wants to promote moving forward.

The current project that Steven is working on revolves around two primary research questions: What are Canada’s competitive strengths in global production networks and global innovation networks and what factors will ensure the future success of Canadian firms? And: What is the role of local conditions, including local educational and labour market institutions, in supporting the global competitiveness of digital firms in Canada? To date, more than 100 interviews with CEOs, CFOs, and CIOs have been conducted in the Greater Toronto Area. Data analysis and writing is currently in progress.


“Cluster Growth: Toronto’s ICT Sector,” with Dr. David Wolfe and Travis Southin.” [In preparation for journal submission]


2017. “Local Factors Driving the Global Competitiveness of Toronto’s ICT Sector,” presentation at CDO Partnership Meeting in Montréal, Québec, May 1-3.

2016. “Toronto’s ICT/Fintech Firms in Global Context,” presentation at CDO Partnership Meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, April 25-27.


2015. Current State of the Financial Technology Innovation Ecosystem in the Toronto Region, Innovation Policy Lab, University of Toronto.

2015. David Berman, “Toronto falling behind in fintech industry, report argues,” Globe and Mail, November 5.


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