Affective Politics of Citizenship in Reality TV Programs Featuring North Korean Refugees


This paper is concerned with emerging affective politics of citizenship in contemporary South Korean society. Focusing on the recent reality TV programs (i.e. talk shows) that featured North Korean refugees, this paper examines how North Korean refugees in South Korean society come to be recognized as one of the multicultural minority groups. In South Korea, multiculturalism as one of the government initiatives is thought of politically correct attitude. It has been also imposed from above as one of the ‘global standards’ to be accepted by the South Korean government. Focusing on two reality TV programs featuring North Korean refugees this paper examines how the reality TV programs intervene the existing distribution structure of affect on North Korean refugees while partaking popular sentiments on North Korea and its refugees in South Korea. Analyzing media rituals and apparatuses embedded in the reality TV programs this paper will argue that the reality TV programs serve the subject-making process of North Korean refugees as one of the normal minority groups with which neoliberal cultural politics of citizenship take shape in South Korea.

Author Information
Soochul Kim, Hanyang University, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: GLOBAL2017
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the GLOBAL2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon