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Languages of the Youth Movement in the Republic of Korea after 2016 - Focusing on the Founding Statement of Youth Groups and Interviews with Activists -

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2021, (83), pp.5-41
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.083.01
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : October 15, 2021
  • Accepted : November 1, 2021
  • Published : November 30, 2021

Duckgu Hong 1

1포항공과대학교 소통과공론연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Terms such as the ‘MZ generation’ and ‘YiDaenam (Korean twentysomething)’ define the trend of the current youth generation. However, these terms contain the problem that they are not the result of sociological observation of the conditions and the desires of the young generation, but are made as a result of marketing strategies or as a consequential phenomenon. Liberal intellectuals criticize that the sense of ‘fairness’ that the current young generation is aiming for will be transformed into a one-sided preference for ‘meritocracy’, thus functioning as a crisis factor for democracy. In order to examine how the values of ‘fairness’ and ‘meritocracy’ are actually used in the language of the youth movement, this paper has selected some of the youth organizations established after the presidential impeachment in 2016 and examined the direction of each organization. The language problem that appeared in the declarations of foundation and the interviews with activists was analyzed. The languages used by the members of such organizations as youth workers’ groups from technical specialized high schools, Riders Union, and Fashion Assistant Union, manifested their strong desire to be recognized as a ‘citizen’ who receive the legal and institutional protection of the government. However, the process they are pursuing does not lead to meritocracy. Youth Emergency Climate Action and ‘Big Wave’ are the groups of young people aimed at responding to the crisis of climate changes. Although they recognized the climate crisis as a problem for the younger generation to deal with, they showed an attitude of understanding the cause as a complex combination of transnational capital and nationalism. Lastly, in the case of youth action for enacting anti-discrimination laws, they showed a language that implicitly advocates meritocracy while criticizing academic factionalism. This is attributed to the nature of the movement, which excludes partisan elements.

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