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Yang, Myungji

Yang, Myungji

NIAS Individual Fellowship

Manufacturing Fear: The Construction of a Political Identity on the Korean Right, 1987-2018

Research Question

Why do some citizens vehemently resist pro-democratic changes? What fuels right-wing mobilization? What are the discursive and mobilization strategies of the right to garner support?

Project Description

I aim to understand how the South Korean right has constructed its political identity and mobilized social support, and how its political practices have contributed to particular political outcomes during the post-authoritarian period (1987-present). Exploring how right-wing elites and intellectuals capitalize on Cold War geopolitical contestation and glorify the national modernization projects of authoritarian regimes, my research will demonstrate how the Korean right has constructed ideological and organizational infrastructures and maintained its hegemonic position in the post-authoritarian period. Drawing from ethnographic observation, in-depth interviews, and archival materials, I try to critically enhance knowledge on the internal workings of right-wing mobilization. My analysis will deepen our understanding of far-right politics in new democracies that possess persistent right-wing authoritarian legacies.

Selected Publications

1) Yang, Myungji. Forthcoming. “Defending “Liberal Democracy”? Why Older Koreans Took to the Streets against the Candlelight Protests, 2016-2017”. Mobilization: An International Quarterly.

2) Yang, Myungji. 2018. From Miracle to Mirage: The Making and Unmaking of the Korean Middle Class, 1960-2015. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

3) Yang, Myungji. 2018. “The Rise of ‘Gangnam Style’: Manufacturing the Urban Middle Class in Seoul, 1976-1996.” Urban Studies 55(15): 3404-3420.


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