The purpose of this study is to understand the regional properties and characteristics of Seowon management through investigation on the cases of Seowon management in Nonsan during the Joseon Dynasty.
Wonim (院任, academic directors) were the subjects of Seowon education and management consisting of Wonjang (院長), Jangui (掌議), Yusa (有司), and Jikwal (直月). As Wongang and Jangui, powerful officials from either central or local areas served, and as Yusa and Jikwol, influential intellectuals from nearby regions were appointed. Governmental officials were appointed as Wonjang and Yusa, and Seowon indicated their own distinctive academic or political tendencies by them.
Wonsaeng (院生) were the students and educatee affiliated to Seowon.
Concerning qualifications for admission, initially, they had to pass Chosi (初試, the initial civil service examination), but gradually, either virtue or learning was emphasized more. Wonsaeng took classes according to the curriculum while staying in the dormitory, but later, the boarding system came to be abolished on account of financial reasons in Seowon.
Despite that, each individual Seowon introduced various methods of education, which lasted until the 19th century.
For Seowon management, there were farmlands, slaves, donations, and Wonbo (院保, adult male support taxpayers of good status), and so on.
Farmlands were the main source of Seowon management. Slaves played roles in cultivating the farmland and supporting it by doing various tasks needed for Seowon management. Also, donations and Wonbo had roles in procuring goods and money required to hold ancestral rites or repair the buildings. In particular, those making donations were different by Seowon as they tended to be changed gradually to those belonging to the families affiliated to each of the Seowon.
Seowon located in Nonsan show both regional similarities and differences for each Seowon’s uniqueness. As Seowon management was differentiated by families and factions centering around the figures enshrined in them, a variety of characteristics can be found within the same region.