Juheon Lee

Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Humanities

“My area of study, social capital, applies to most of the social science disciplines. Sociology, public policy, anthropology…it’s very versatile.”

Juheon Lee began his career in sales, where a job in marketing required him to travel regularly across Asia, and to work with people from many different cultural backgrounds. This exposure to other cultures, their politics and their communities inspired Lee – so much so that he quit his job to attend graduate school, where he completed a Master of International Studies at Seoul National University in 2012, followed by an M.A. in Political Science from University at Albany, SUNY in 2014.

At Northeastern, Lee’s doctoral research under advisor Dr. Daniel Aldrich has focused on the study of social capital. He explains, “social capital is a resource somewhat like currency that an individual has within a community based on their connections, their social network, the people they choose to associate with. And it’s not just individuals; it’s a collective thing for people as a group, as a community, as citizens, even.”

Social capital is only one half of Lee’s research – the other half is disaster resilience. “In the face of hazards, natural or technological, policy makers usually focus on structural measures, like a new dam or bridge, for example. Many studies, my own included, have found that those structural measures are not as effective at increasing resilience as building strong social bonds, building peoples’ connections with each other, with the community.”

Additionally, Lee’s research has shown that communities with high social capital recover from disasters faster and rebuild better than communities with low social capital. He hopes that this research will help guide policy makers and will encourage them to invest in developing a strong social bond between individuals, their community and their local government.

To date, Lee has published four papers on the topic of social currency, and currently teaches courses on International Relations and Quantitative Techniques. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

“Strengthening peoples’ connections to their community makes them more resilient in the face of disaster…it saves peoples’ lives.”
Juheon Lee