Polarized Politics in South Korea

Polarized Politics in South Korea

Political Culture and Democracy in Partisan Newspapers

Oul Han


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South Korea is one of the most successful cases of democratization and economic growth in the world. It shares one troubling problem with many other countries in recent years: the visible increase of extreme polarization in the language and emotions of political topics. However, Korea has experienced this problem much earlier. The history created weak parties that use deeply effective but harmful stories. This combination creates a downwards spiral where the performance of moral superiority becomes the sharpest weapon. The author points out that we need a standard for viewing this growing problem and argues that the traits of polarization in language are not well understood. Using partisan newspaper text data from 1990 to 2014 and quantitative text analysis, this book collects the most typical emotions and topics used by parties and partisans, analyzing why they exist. In the age of digital data and possibly restricted mobility, this book is a proposal for what the author calls “Computational Area Studies” and “Distant Fieldwork.”


Oul Han:

Oul Han is a postdoctoral researcher and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Freie Universität Berlin.