Communication Dynamics of Candlelight Protests in Korea

By: Choi SunYoung   Eunji Ko   Kumhee Jung  

The candlelight protests of south Korea from 2016 to 2017 became a new milestone in the history of modern democracy. First, we set an unprecedented record of scale. The first candlelight vigil attendance was about 50,000 people, but over seventeen million people participated twenty-three times. Second, these mass demonstrations were held peacefully for seven months without armed conflict or bloodshed. The protests were held at various events such as rock music performances and free speech on the outdoor stage, and many family members participated together in a festive atmosphere. Third, the peaceful candlelight protests in Korea are the result of Internet grassroots democracy. The first candlelight vigils in Korea in the twenty-first century began in 2002 when a citizen reporter from the Internet newspaper ‘Oh my News’ proposed a memorial service for the schoolgirls who were victimized by US military vehicles. This candlelight protest has been displayed for several months in a form of peaceful assembly. From now on, the value of 'peace' is very important as Korea's unique candlelight demonstration culture from 2004 against former President Roh Moo-hyun's impeachment issues, the urging of renegotiation of FTA in 2008, Gwanghwamun protests to identify the truth of ‘Sewol’ Ferry tragedy from 2014 to 2016. This study analyzes tweets from the first through sixth of Korea’s candlelight vigils in 2016. We analyze tweets from this period with Dynamic Topic Modeling (DTM) method, exploring how massive rallies can be held regularly and peacefully every week.

Candlelight Protests, DTM
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Prof. Choi SunYoung

Special Appointment Professor, Creative Academy of Eco Science, Ewha Womans University

Eunji Ko

Ph.D, Ewha Womans University, South Korea
-, South Korea

Miss Kumhee Jung

Graduate student , Interdisciplinary Program of EcoCreative, Ewha Womans University, South Korea
Seodaemun-gu, South Korea