Late December 2015 our chapter Voicing Discontent in South Korea. Origins and Channels of Online Civic Movements by Se Jung Park and myself was published in The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics and edited by Axel Bruns, Gunn Enli, Eli Skogerbø, Anders Olof Larsson, and Christian Christensen. The edited book consists of a large and diverse collection on social media and politics.
Our chapter consists of three sections. The first section “South Korea’s Path to Wealth and Democracy” is a brief look into South Korea’s recent history of developing into a democracy and economic prosperity driven by Korea’s technology industry (cf. Samsung, LG). The second section focuses on the distinct Korean Web culture and its fast Internet infrastructure. The third section focuses on the sociopolitical relations in South Korea’s collectivist culture. Using World Values Survey data we compare South Korea to other countries, in terms of confidence in political institutions such as parliament and government, civil services, and political parties. In the following section three cases on social movements and social media are presented: Candlelight protests, citizen journalism: OhmyNews, and Gangjeong Movement. The subsequent section focuses on Internet regulation and Election Laws in South Korea, followed by the conclusion.
A big thank you to the editors for inviting to contribute and a special big thank you to Nicki Hall, the project coördinator, for managing this project. More information about the book can be found on the publisher’s website Routledge and on Amazon.
Below are some pictures of a 2008 Candlelight protest that turned violent, the Sewol Candlelight protest of 2014 as well as some videos of recent protests (November 2015) against president Park Geun-hye’s policies. Although these protests are violent, according to experts (mentioned in the first video) South Korea is in a transition to peaceful rallying.