This study explains how apparatuses of the state-society network have played a significant role in the discursive infrastructure of Cold War politics in South Korea. It argues that the nationwide Candlelight Protests in winter 2016–2017 were not only popular struggles to restore representative democracy, but also calls for critical reflection on the sustained, complex entwinement of voices manufactured from, and negotiated with, the discursive infrastructure of Cold War politics. Sustaining the Cold War discursive infrastructure does not mean the mere revival or re-production of the Cold War mentality, but rather intensifying the hegemonic discourse through a particularly reminiscent set of apparatuses (e.g., pseudo-civic organizations, policy) deployed in the present. From this perspective, I propose that understanding South Korean right-wing groups as a patriotic Korean collective protecting Park Geun-hye from the threat of jongbuk helps us critically engage with the discursive conditions that operate the Cold War mentality of post-Cold War South Korea.
The amateurism, spatial, and temporal expansions of the documentary films Gwangjang (Candle in the Wave) and Modeunnal-ui chotbul (All Day Candles), screened at Gwanghwamun Plaza in June 2016, dismantled the imaginary boundaries that existed between us and the Other. This paper examines how such dismantlement has moved to a new era and aesthetic strategy to bring the candlelight protests to the public’s eyes. The Sewol Ferry Disaster led to the rediscovery of reportage in Korean literature and the local art scene, and to the strengthening of amateurism in documentary films as a result of dismantling the authority of representation through omnibus and episodic formats in these two works. Beyond fostering our integration, they have played a political aesthetic role in increasing solidarity by revealing the boundaries of imagination created by our inner unconsciousness, where the dominant languages of integration and exclusion have been internalized. These two documentaries rewrite the origins of the Candlelight Plaza as cultural politics of recording and memorizing. In the two films, the movement and expansion of the plaza provide ways to make it accessible and visible to the indivisible beings standing on these boundaries to relieve the absurdities of Korean society.
This paper considers the visual shock Park Chan-wook utilizes in Oldboy that provokes spectatorial revulsion, a reaction to the excessively brutal logic of retaliation, in relation to Hitchcock’s suspense to explore how their films deal with ethical issues in terms of film spectatorship. Particularly, by examining how the excessive brutality of Oldboy and the film viewer’s disgust that follows, can lead to the ethical themes of “forgiveness” and “liberation,” this paper resurfaces the universal ethics about “how to be with the other ethically” in a global and transnational context. If Park’s Oldboy confronts our safe and familiar voyeuristic viewing positions, it is because his film uses the eye-toeye encounter with the spectator as the filmic element to awaken the spectator’s senseability. In connecting ethics to film, this is precisely a Hitchcockian cinema technique that includes visual assault on the spectator in order to link “ethically looking” toward the other with “ethically looking” in the cinema. Considering Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy in connection with Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic language, and in doing so, investigating how the two film directors permit the film viewer’s ethical awakening via visual shock, this paper sheds light on the spectatorial ethics itself.
This paper challenges previous K-pop studies on fandom in South Korea to broaden their focus beyond straight-identified fans to include queer fans. Although previous studies have focused on male K-pop stars as the object of heterosexual desire, the phenomenon of “fan cosplay,” or “fancos” for short, demonstrates that these male stars also serve as a means for cross-gender identification for female fans. This paper explores K-pop’s role as a space for its young female fans to explore gender and sexual identity, as well as its influence on local queer subculture in terms of gendered styling, gendered pairing, and queer terminology. Furthermore, an examination of the historical changes in the popularity of fancos reveals the transformation in the recognition of homosexuality and its backlash in Korea as well as the strategies of the queer subculture to focus on invisibility and in-group differentiation. Therefore, a queer perspective on K-pop studies includes domestic queer fans in the study of K-pop, complicates the heteronormative assumptions of fandom studies, and the relationship between commercial media and desire and sheds light on sexual politics in South Korea.
Research on the position of the Park Chung Hee regime in the history of contemporary science and technology in South Korea has hitherto consisted of the search for answers to two opposed questions. The one question concerns the periods in which the dramatic development of science and technology in South Korea occurred; and the other concerns the origins of the problems currently faced by science and technology. In other words, studies have sought to highlight and to identify either positive or negative aspects of science and technology respectively during the Park era. However, This paper poses a different and original question: “How did the collusion between science and technology and politics, which may be the foundation of science and technology in South Korea, occur?” In fact, the government-led pursuit of science and technology, the industrial technology-centered development, and the nation’s ambitious technology projects are partial phenomena derived from this collusion. The present study aims to dynamically track changes in the relationship between science and technology and the highest levels of government, and the social expansion of science and technology that occurred amidst such changes.
A variety of discussions about the revision of the constitution are underway in Korea. One important issue currently being debated is the rights of peasants guaranteed in agriculture-related provisions. Including peasants’ rights in agriculture-related provisions is one of the key issues in this constitutional revision. La Vía Campesina and other international human rights organizations first coined the term “rights of peasants” and there are now ongoing attempts to draw-up a draft declaration on the rights of peasants in the UN Human Rights Council. This paper outlines the implications of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants as a direction for a sustainable agriculture model that can suggest alternatives to the global agri-food system to be included in Korea’s new constitution. To this end, this paper analyzes historical changes in the food security regime and international agri-food policies and also traces the transformation of Korean agriculture correlated with changes to the international regime. Consequently, this paper demonstrates the important contribution on discussions regarding the rights of peasants in the UN to proliferate alternative discourses on contemporary agri-food systems both at global and national level.