Digital populism and the 'Me Too' movement in Korea. The case of WOMAD

Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Populism is widely acknowledged to capture the ‘Zeitgeist’ of the early 21st century. Arguably, one of its defining features is its extensive reliance on technology. Nowhere is this more evident than in South Korea. The ties between internet and politics in Korea date back to the Roh Moo-hyun presidential campaign of 2002, when young campaigners effectively pushed Roh to the presidency. Months-long candlelight vigils in 2016 and 2017 were enabled by by social media – mobilising Korean citizens against then president Park. The paper zooms in on two examples of feminist movements since 2017: the #metoo movement and ‘Womad’. Since late 2017 the #metoo has first shocked the world and then highlighted both the empowering potential of this movement and, in some cases, its limits. The paper also examines the case study of ‘Womad’. Womad is a women’s online discussion group, whose name integrates women and ‘nomad’. The paper shows how Korea’s highly polarised environment 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.
Period23 Jun 201927 Jun 2019
Held atWorld Congress of Korean Studies, Korea, Republic of
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Korea
  • populism
  • activism
  • online
  • feminism
  • gender
  • Womad