The Gender Logic of a Developmental State and the Future of Democracy: Media Coverage and Public Responses to the Hairstyles of Key Female Public Figures in South Korea
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.Hyung Gyung Kim is a Postdoctoral Fellow at GEAS. In her PhD dissertation she investigates the transformation of the media industry and actors as gendered image commodities in South Korea. Her research interests are gender/sexuality in politics of representation, intangible labor in the media industry and the change of intimacy within the East Asian context. Kim is currently working on her book about the representation of love in TV dramas and films since the 1990's in South Korea.
Time & Location
May 07, 2018 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Graduate School of East Asian Studies