Through the case of anti-impeachment rallies held in South Korea in 2016-2017, this article examines why the large-scale, rightwing mobilization emerged in the midst of democratic and peaceful demonstrations. Analyzing the widespread emotions and narratives shared by protesters, I argue that rightwing elites and intellectuals mobilized civil society by evoking specific historical experiences that arouse intense fear and outrage among older citizens. Capitalizing on positive and successful historical experiences of anticommunist nation building and national modernization, the South Korean right has tried to rebuild its political legitimacy and symbolic power during the postauthoritarian period (1987-present). Drawing from ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews undertaken in Seoul, I emphasize the prominence of Cold War geopolitics and authoritarian legacies in shaping the discourse and mobilization strategies of the South Korean right. This article enhances a critical understanding of the internal workings of rightwing mobilization in existing Western-centric scholarship on the far right.
DEFENDING “LIBERAL DEMOCRACY”? WHY OLDER SOUTH KOREANS TOOK TO THE STREETS AGAINST THE 2016-17 CANDLELIGHT PROTESTS*
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Myungji Yang; DEFENDING “LIBERAL DEMOCRACY”? WHY OLDER SOUTH KOREANS TOOK TO THE STREETS AGAINST THE 2016-17 CANDLELIGHT PROTESTS. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 2 September 2020; 25 (3): 365–382. doi: https://doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-25-3-365
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