The purpose of this thesis is to explore the process of constructing the collective identity of the protesters of the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil and the role of media in the identity construction process. This thesis locates the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil as the process of the symbolic power struggle among various actors in order to construct the meaning of the protesters and their movement in the public sphere in Korea. I examines (1) how the process of developing the relationships among social actors - such as the state, the civil society, and the media organizations - has influenced the flow of information in the public sphere in Korea, (2) how this process was connected to the emergence of the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil, (3) how the protesters used the media as a tool of collective action, (4) how the protesters self-identified in their media messages, and (5) how the news media engaged in the production of meanings for the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil. To understand these questions, a discourse analysis of the newspaper ads funded and designed by the protesters during the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil was conducted. In-depth interviews with five protesters were also used to describe the process of this newspaper ad campaigns. In addition, this thesis investigated frames in the news stories about the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil in the two national newspapers, The Hankyoreh and the Dong-A Ilbo, which have been viewed as representing the two ideological camps, the liberal-progressives and the conservatives, respectively.
The findings of this study show that the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil was an effort to change power relationships through constructing and transforming the social meanings, which have been deeply embedded in the history, culture, and collective memory of Korea. The sociopolitical positions of the newspapers provided interpretive frames through which they defined details of the movement. Both The Hankyoreh and the Dong-A Ilbo connected the collective identity of the protesters with values and norms that their readers have shared and been concerned about: in the liberal-progressive Hankyoreh, the movement was defined as the ideal of liberal progressivism, and in the conservative Dong-A Ilbo, it was portrayed as a threat to conservatism. In addition, during the whole process of the movement, a mutually beneficial relationship existed between the protesters and the liberal-progressive newspapers. This symbiotic relationship could have provided the movement's source of values and actions and ultimately led to the construction of a unified actor that we can call the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. February 2013. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Giovanna Dell’Orto. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 173 pages.
The making of the 2008 Korean Candlelight Vigil: a study of politics, media, and social movements.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.