Debating Multicultural Korea: Media Discourse on Migrants and Minorities in South Korea
48 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2015
Date Written: November 30, 2014
Since the early 1990s, South Korea has experienced growing, public debate about migrants, minorities, and related government policies. Much of this ‘multicultural’ discourse occurs in the internet-based, cyber-media, which offer space for various producers, including mainstream media professionals, netizens, and resident foreigners. A prevailing discourse of victimhood is associated with small, ideologically homogeneous groups of media producers (mainstream media and nativist websites); in contrast, mixed and nuanced discourses are more common in large and heterogeneous, online communities, where users interact with a variety of viewpoints. Moreover, actors who are framed in non-negative terms — as neither xenophobes nor corrupt elites — serve as more effective brokers and bridges across various media. Most foreign-origin netizens are passive consumers of media discourse; but a few, active foreigners communicate effectively with both mainstream media and netizens and help to diversify the prevailing discourse. We find supportive evidence from a content analysis of 15 websites, supplemented with informant interviews and observations.
Keywords: South Korea, Migrants, Media, Public Sphere, Multicultural, Netizens
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