1st Edition

The Candlelight Movement, Democracy, and Communication in Korea

Edited By JongHwa Lee, Chuyun Oh, Yong-Chan Kim Copyright 2022
    176 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book examines key features, problems, and implications of the 2016–2017 Candlelight Movement, a historical cornerstone for democracy and social movements in South Korea.

    The Candlelight Movement brought profound social changes with important lessons and questions for scholars, practitioners, activists, and the public. To examine the full complexity of the movement, this edited volume utilises wide-ranging methodological and theoretical approaches, which include case study approaches, ethnography, survey, feminist film criticism, critical discourse analysis, and rhetorical criticism. Chapters place ‘communication’ at the centre of their analyses, calling attention to the mediated and mediatised, the performative and other discursive practices of the 2016–2017 Candlelight Movement. In doing so, the book discusses not only the usual players and factors – nor the institutions that exert their influence through democratic politics and the public sphere – but also the counter-public embracing new and social media, collective singing, the body, and performance, as their choice of political media. As such, this volume offers important insights into how communication plays a critical role in forming, moving, and transforming new social movements.

    The Candlelight Movement, Democracy, and Communication in Korea will appeal to students and scholars of communication and media studies, political science, sociology, and Korean studies.

    Part 1: Media and media space

    1. A crisis of press freedom: Investigative journalism and the downfall of the President

    Hun Shik Kim

    2. One small action for the larger movement

    Hojeong Lee

    3. Social media use on protest sites during the 2016–2017 candlelight vigils in Seoul

    Yong-Chan Kim

    Part 2: Culture and performance

    4. "With the brightest light we have": K-pop fandom in candlelight movement and diversification of Korean protest culture

    Jungwon Kim

    5. Channeling anger into hope

    Youllee Kim

    6. Dancing for hope: The shamanic ritual and performative Koreanness at the candlelight protests

    Chuyun Oh

    Part 3: Counterpublics and representation

    7. Contested neoliberal vulnerability: Laboring, feminine, and queer subjects in the streets of the impeachment protest

    Jiwoon Yulee

    8. The conservative news media outlets: Blowing out candles for economic democracy

    Huikyong Pang

    9. From flags to candles: Visual hailing and articulation of nation

    JongHwa Lee

    Appendix: An analysis of contemporary Korean society through the candlelight movement: A historical perspective to the social phenomena and changes

    Jin-Geol Ahn


    JongHwa Lee is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Mass Media at Angelo State University. Currently, he is working on the issues of Cold War rhetoric in Korea, historical justice and collective memory in Asia, and social justice activism and global citizenship.

    Chuyun Oh (Ph.D. in Performance Studies, UT Austin) is an assistant professor of Dance Theory at San Diego State University. As a Fulbright scholar, she focuses on performance ethnography, activism, and racial and gender identities in transnational popular dance in social media. 

    Yong-Chan Kim is a professor at the Department of Communication at Yonsei University. He has researched on the areas of urban communication, new media technology, and public health/risk. His most recent books include The Communication Ecology of 21st Century Urban Communities and Media and Community.