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Social Movements and Nationalism: Comfort Women Movement and Narratives of Nation in Post-Democratization Korea, 1988-2007.

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Title:Social Movements and Nationalism: Comfort Women Movement and Narratives of Nation in Post-Democratization Korea, 1988-2007.
Authors:Chang, Whi
Contributors:Political Science (department)
Keywords:‘comfort women’
Korean nationalism
social movements
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation is a study of a political process of nationalist discourses in post-democratization
South Korea. It traces the changes in the nationalist discourses formed around the ‘comfort women’
issue after the democratization from 1988 to 2007, focusing on discursive strategies of the
movement and media reports. Despite a surfeit studies of nationalism concerning its formation and
the conflicts of different ethnic groups between the nation-states or within a multi-ethnic nation,
little research has been reported on the dynamics of nationalist discourses from different social
groups after a robust nationalism settled in relatively homogeneous nation-states. By illuminating
changes of the monopolized state-centered nationalist narratives established during the 1960s and
70s into diversified narratives of the Korean nation emerged after the democratization movements
in the 1980s, this dissertation highlights the role of social movements in providing a moral ground
for the nationalized people to challenge the official narrative of a nation. The frame analysis on
the statements released on the Wednesday Demonstration by the comfort women movement
illustrates the dynamic process of the movements’ strategies, working with the official narrative of
Korean nation. It also explores the interaction between the movement and larger society by
analyzing the reports on the ‘comfort women’ issue in the Chosun Ilbo and the Hankyoreh. It
concludes that the Korean nationalism after democratization is not merely made by the state or
political elites, but a result of the constant struggle of different political and social agents in the
society. The official narrative of the Korean nation, which is state-centered, patriarchal and
prioritizing the economic values and efficiency, has been constantly modified as various social
movements, particularly the comfort women movement, after the democratization. The movement
engages in (re)constructing the nationalist identity with a communitarian nationalist discursive
strategy, based more on the universal value and can be expanded to transnational sympathy.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science

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