In 2016 and 2017, South Korea’s candlelight protests were a talking point around the globe as proof of democracy in action. Adopting a gender perspective, this presentation examines whether the resulting presidential impeachment and subsequent peaceful transfer of government served to affirm a substantive democracy in the post-developmental state of South Korea. Media coverage concerning hairstyles of female public figures who regularly made headlines during this period — specifically those of the impeached president, the chief justice who delivered the verdict, and the new minister of foreign affairs — will be analyzed. Steeped in cultural and historically located connotations, each of these women — and their hairstyles — became representative of gendered expectations and the state. In unpacking these dynamics, this presentation explores gender in the developmental and post-developmental state of South Korea, while questioning the assumption that democratization is a foregone conclusion. In examining the case of South Korea, which is a former showcase authoritarian developmental state, this research attempts to contribute to post-developmental state theory from a gender perspective.
May 07, 2018 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Graduate School of East Asian Studies