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Ethics of Alienated Death and Representation in Modern Society: Focusing on the OTT Drama Move to Heaven

  • Journal of Popular Narrative
  • 2022, 28(3), pp.45-93
  • DOI : 10.18856/jpn.2022.28.3.002
  • Publisher : The Association of Popular Narrative
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Interdisciplinary Research
  • Received : September 26, 2022
  • Accepted : October 11, 2022
  • Published : October 30, 2022

Han, Jeong-hoon 1

1전남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to examine the ‘alienated death’ that is occurring in various ways in current Korean society, focusing on the OTT drama Move to Heaven, and to analyze what kind of ethics the drama content constitutes in the process of reproducing death. Death was the object of anxiety, horror, and fear for humans, regardless of ages and countries. Modern society reinforced the negativity of death and tried to confine death in people’s daily lives by mobilizing various methods. As a result, death began to be alienated as it became an ‘event of the other’ that should not have anything to do with people living in the present. Modern capitalist society demands continuous achievement from people. Those who do not meet these achievement expectations are classified as marginalized groups as either the surplus or the underdog in society. They are alienated not only in life but also in death. Alienated death occurs in a place and time where the lack and contradiction of the modern social system are cohesive. Therefore, the hegemonic group of society avoids alienated death from receiving public attention or being the object of constructing the group’s counter‐discourse. In the past, TV dramas had a strong function as a social public institution (公器) rather than a work of art, and they were media that produced social norms. Therefore, it was very rare that events that revealed the contradictions and deficiencies of the social system of the time were used as the subject of a drama. However, the development of digital technology and the accompanying appearance of OTT dramas have made a big difference in the production and airing of existing dramas. The OTT business generates revenue centered on subscribers, so in order to secure high‐quality (original) content, ensuring autonomy in content creation and huge investments were made. Accordingly, OTT dramas began to produce a variety of high‐quality contents using various materials that were not covered by public dramas in the past. The drama Move to Heaven avoids treating the ‘alienated death’ of Korean society as an issue, and through a moderator of the remains of the dead, the story unfolds as a process of reconstructing the ‘narrative of life’ of the dead. Through this, the drama shows that alienated death is not ‘individual death’ but ‘social death’. In addition, while the drama constitutes the ‘narrative of life’ of the dead, it shows who the dead is, and what we are missing in the face of alienated death, and is constantly asking the viewers whether we are responsible for the alienated death. In this process, drama is reconstructing the ‘ethics of mourning’ about death that we currently forget.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.