The current research attempts to investigate the questions of who the participants in the candlelight vigil of 2008 were and how they have changed over time. In order to answer these questions, we used survey data collected in June 2008, which was used as a basis for follow-up research of the same respondents in September 2008 and July 2009. In the first part of our analysis, we examine the general characteristics of the participant teens. We found that the participants were not very different from nonparticipant teens in terms of their social background, such as class identity and GPAs. In the latter part of the paper, we analyze how the teens evaluated the candlelight vigil after one year. We found that the participants tend to define themselves as the “candlelight generation” and share a strong feeling of “we-ness.” It was also found that the respondents were strongly influenced by the experience of participating in the candle protest in terms of political consciousness.
What is striking in the candlelight demonstration in 2008 is that girls played a leading role in the inception period and thereafter the overwhelming turnout of diverse groups of women gave it a great impetus throughout. Considering that women accounted for about 70 percent of the participants, it is very important to understand their positionality clearly. This paper aims to examine the political identity of the women participants and analyze the characteristics of various groups of women who led the candlelight demonstration from the perspectives of global consumption culture and global food safety and the involvement of Internet communities. Then it compares their “action” of participation in the demonstration with the labor struggle mounted by married female nonregular workers of E-Land. The rapidly changing public sphere or publicity, together with the progress of neoliberalist globalization, provides legitimacy to this investigation and presents prospects on the future world in which “ordinary women” become the political agents to lead life politics.
This article is an ethnographic study of the “baby stroller brigades” (BSB) that represents one of the many Internet-based communities that attracted public attention in Korea during the candlelight protest of 2008. In this article, we raise several heuristic questions. First, why and how did the BSB produce such sensationalist public attention? Second, who led the BSB and who were the active members in the BSB? Third, what were the specific strategies and types of political mobilizations the BSB engaged in during the candlelight protest?Finally, what are the BSB members doing now? In answering these questions,this article argues that the sociocultural ideas about married middle-aged women, called ajumma, in Korean society are closely associated with the huge debates on the BSB members’ activities despite their relatively minor role in the protest. Despite the limitation, most BSB members expanded their political view to include larger social issues. However, their efforts are continuously confined within the sociocultural constraints that they have as ajumma.
The massive expansion of the 2008 BSE candlelight vigils confirmed a changed structure of public debate in Korea by “coalitions of media, experts, civic groups, patrons of media outlets, and political organizations.” Korea’s progressive media, intellectuals, civic groups, citizens, and political parties succeeded in determining the direction of public opinion and power in a vacuum created by collapsed public authority to a considerable extent. At the same time, system of determining the truth in Korean society was being seriously shaken. Though the possibility for an authoritarian regime to re-emerge in Korea has gone since its democratization, the authority of public agencies needed for debate and dialogue is being shaken. Ideological freedom is open to all possibilities, but public authority involving man’s daily necessities and life must make realistic conclusions. In order for disputes to become means of the pursuit of truth, an authority recognized by all parties of a debate is absolutely needed. By delving into the core problems of the candlelight vigils,this paper will identify the origins of the BSE candlelight vigils and the process by which the authority of Korea’s public agencies was damaged and collapsed. It will also reveal the distortions of Korea’s BSE experts’ analyses of the situation,and that these distortions were made possible by the support of “coalitions of media, experts, civic groups, patrons of media outlets, and political organizations.”
In this paper, I analyze the memories of the Manchu wars and the manner in which literary descriptions of the Qing dynasty were made in several seventeenth-century-era stories. The descriptions of the battle of Simha (1619) used as subject matter for novels and the portrayals of the historical figures of Nurhachi and Huangtaiji are analyzed in order to identify the perceptions of the Qing dynasty implied in the novel texts contemporary to the change of regime from Ming to Qing. The battle of Simha was depicted concretely in such tales as Choe Cheok jeon, Kang Ro jeon, and Kim Yeong-cheol jeon. In these stories, the writers described the orderly and powerful Qing army in a positive manner. Even writing in an era in which the perceptions of the Qing dynasty were negative, the authors of these three stories realistically accepted the reorganized power structure centered around the newly emerging Qing,and its emperors Nurhachi and Huangtaiji were described respectfully as positive characters with magnanimity who could gain the trust of the people and unify all of China. This description of Qing dynasty China is the result of the conscious efforts of the writers to objectively understand the entity of Qing and critically reflect on Joseon dynasty politics.
It is generally accepted that the Republic of Korea underwent an impressive economic transition in the past century. In a similar vein, human stature improved enormously over this same time period. This paper shows that the height of South Korean men increased drastically from 169 cm in cohorts born after the Korean War to 175 cm in cohorts born in 1983. South Koreans are now among the tallest of the entire Asian continent. Moreover, young South Koreans are also rapidly catching up to the heights of the most economically prosperous nations. This article also found that social differences based on height stratified by educational attainment were negligible in South Korea;interestingly and ironically, this is distinct from socialist North Korea, where highly educated people were about 1 to 2 cm taller. Rapid economic development combined with the introduction of nationwide high-protein feeding programs in primary schools are the likely causes for this remarkable and uniform growth spurt.
In the last decades of the nineteenth century, every important and complex issue representing international rivalry and collaboration was played out in Korea with the country serving as a pawn in the game of power politics. Korea’s strategic importance, its military weakness, its deficiency of accurate information, and a continuous flood of rumors and suspicions all contributed to its subordination by imperialistic forces. Among other things, the advent of Russia in power politics in Korea meant meaningful challenges not only for the Russophobic powers but also for Korea. This article seeks to reexamine some controversial issues on the rivalry and collaboration of the powers in Korea by providing materials never cited before, and thereby reevaluate Russia’s expansionism in Korea. Its scope covers some basic chronology of events in Korea, including the opening of Korea in 1876; political disturbances before and after the treaties with the West in the mid-1880s; the decade of Chinese dominance, 1885-1894; and the Russo-Japanese rivalry and collaboration,1895-1898. And each period in this study is characterized by the viewpoint not only of rivalry but also of collaboration in power policies.