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Beyond Continuity: The Defiance of Ordinary Citizens and the 2016 Candlelight Protests in South Korea

Title
Beyond Continuity: The Defiance of Ordinary Citizens and the 2016 Candlelight Protests in South Korea
Authors
Yun, Ji-WhanMin, Hee
Ewha Authors
윤지환
SCOPUS Author ID
윤지환scopus
Issue Date
2020
Journal Title
KOREA JOURNAL
ISSN
0023-3900JCR Link
Citation
KOREA JOURNAL vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 150 - 179
Keywords
2016 candlelight protestsordinary citizensdefianceKorean democracyneoliberalismdiscontinuity
Publisher
ACAD KOREAN STUDIES
Indexed
AHCI; SCOPUS; KCI WOS
Document Type
Article
Abstract
In explaining the 2016 candlelight protests that removed Park Geun-hye from the presidency, many commentators in South Korea have emphasized the historical continuity of this event with previous candlelight protests that had different goals and contexts. Commentators have highlighted the uninterrupted commitment of active citizens to democratic progress and claimed that these citizens played the determining role throughout all of the candlelight protests. In addition to this view, this paper argues that there is an important discontinuity in the 2016 protests: ordinary citizens defied the Park government when the government undermined their livelihoods, and this defiance constituted the uniqueness of the 2016 candlelight protests. Specifically, by comparing the life cycle of the 2016 protests with that of the 2008 protests, this paper reveals that ordinary citizens influenced the process of the 2016 event by (1) initiating the preceding small protests, ( 2) continuously mobilizing livelihood issues and thus delaying the professionalization of the protests, and (3) de-radicalizing the movement. Therefore, the 2016 candlelight protests must be interpreted not only as the culmination of Korea's decades-long democratic movement but also as a successful struggle of precarious people against the growing neoliberal threats to their livelihoods.
DOI
10.25024/kj.2020.60.2.150
Appears in Collections:
사회과학대학 > 정치외교학전공 > Journal papers
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