Digital Populism and Feminist Movements in South Korea: the case of WOMAD

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Description

We are living in an age of inequality and deep polarisation. This manifests itself in different ways, with divides along economic, cultural, political, ideological, gender, racial, and digital ones. This paper tells the complex and contradictory story of a Korean movement that on the one hand highlights the empowering potential of the internet, while on the other highlights its vulnerability to manipulation, leading to a backlash.
Over late 2017 and throughout 2018 #metoo has first shocked the world and then highlighted both the empowering potential of this movement and, in some cases, its limits. The paper focuses on the case study of ‘Womad’ is an women’s online discussion group, whose name integrates women and ‘nomad’. It explores the rise of Womad and its ties to the global #metoo movement, while highlighting distinctively local and contextual characteristics. Interestingly, it is Korea’s highly politicised and polarised environment that also accounts for the recent backlash experienced by the movement. The paper draws from frame analysis to highlight both the agency of Korean women and the way in which the Korea has drawn on and contributed to the global #metoo movement, while focusing on distinctively local issues. By so doing, it contributes to what is currently still an under-theorised body of literature, integrating insights and tools from sociology (most notably social movements and online activism) and political science (especially on populism). The case study of Womad – and the role in the background of far-right websites like ILBE - illustrates the logic, narratives and framing strategies of this online group. Survey data will then be used to evaluate its impact across society.
Period9 Oct 2018
Held atSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • Online activism
  • Populism
  • Gender
  • Feminist movements
  • Korea
  • Asia