ISSN : 0023-3900
This paper traces the shifting modes of candlelight demonstrations in South Korea between 2002 and 2019. Operating in a new media environment, the candlelight protests involved the masses as a flow. The three mass movements that succeeded one another in 2002 exhibited qualities that were quite different from one another (politics, play, and struggle). In the protests of 2008, expressive traits, which appear as elements of play along with struggle against the government, became generalized, taking precedence over representation. In the protests of 2016–2017, the masses persisted in attacking the one and only target—the incompetent and corrupt Park Geun-hye. While the media kept in step with the masses in the candlelight demonstrations of 2016–2017, the candlelight demonstrations of 2019 were held in opposition to and direct confrontation with the media. They also faced simultaneous demonstrations from the opposing side. These differences show that the sui generis style of the candlelight demonstrations can be regarded as a repeatable form, one that can be repurposed to suit different conditions, and which can adopt various genres. They also call attention to the importance of discerning the differences that appear in the recurring candlelight demonstrations.