Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

South Korean television drama often employs ghost stories as a medium for social critique, as in the series Dokkaebi: The Lonely and Great God (2016-17), Let’s Fight, Ghost (2016) and Oh My Ghost (2015). Blending ghost story with other genres, these series foreground the plight of characters who are either ghosts or young people able to see ghosts. Both are isolated by their liminal condition and the multiple personalities it entails, the ghosts because they cannot communicate with the living and the ghost seers because their uncanny ability has set them apart since childhood. Both lack immediate families, which further isolates them in a society with communal values centred on family. Both thus readily symbolize people marginalized because of gender, social status or restricted economic access, but also serve as a commentary on the disintegration of the family in contemporary South Korea. The viewing audience is positioned to align and empathize with ghost and/or seer in their struggles with lost identity and the quest for justice which will free the ghost from its liminal state, and is thereby implicated in a crisis of subjectivity and prompted to reflect upon its own position in society.
LanguageEnglish
JournalSeries: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 2019

Fingerprint

television
drama
South Korea
subjectivity
god
social status
genre
personality
justice
childhood
lack
gender
ability
economics
Values
Society

Keywords

  • Supernatural serial
  • Cognition and affect
  • Multiple personality
  • Genre blending
  • Script theory

Cite this

@article{454038cf5d1849fcb38a5ad055bff125,
title = "Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television",
abstract = "South Korean television drama often employs ghost stories as a medium for social critique, as in the series Dokkaebi: The Lonely and Great God (2016-17), Let’s Fight, Ghost (2016) and Oh My Ghost (2015). Blending ghost story with other genres, these series foreground the plight of characters who are either ghosts or young people able to see ghosts. Both are isolated by their liminal condition and the multiple personalities it entails, the ghosts because they cannot communicate with the living and the ghost seers because their uncanny ability has set them apart since childhood. Both lack immediate families, which further isolates them in a society with communal values centred on family. Both thus readily symbolize people marginalized because of gender, social status or restricted economic access, but also serve as a commentary on the disintegration of the family in contemporary South Korea. The viewing audience is positioned to align and empathize with ghost and/or seer in their struggles with lost identity and the quest for justice which will free the ghost from its liminal state, and is thereby implicated in a crisis of subjectivity and prompted to reflect upon its own position in society.",
keywords = "Supernatural serial, Cognition and affect, Multiple personality, Genre blending, Script theory",
author = "Sung-Ae Lee",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives",
issn = "2421-454X",
number = "2",

}

Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television. / Lee, Sung-Ae.

In: Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives, Vol. 5, No. 2, 12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television

AU - Lee, Sung-Ae

PY - 2019/12

Y1 - 2019/12

N2 - South Korean television drama often employs ghost stories as a medium for social critique, as in the series Dokkaebi: The Lonely and Great God (2016-17), Let’s Fight, Ghost (2016) and Oh My Ghost (2015). Blending ghost story with other genres, these series foreground the plight of characters who are either ghosts or young people able to see ghosts. Both are isolated by their liminal condition and the multiple personalities it entails, the ghosts because they cannot communicate with the living and the ghost seers because their uncanny ability has set them apart since childhood. Both lack immediate families, which further isolates them in a society with communal values centred on family. Both thus readily symbolize people marginalized because of gender, social status or restricted economic access, but also serve as a commentary on the disintegration of the family in contemporary South Korea. The viewing audience is positioned to align and empathize with ghost and/or seer in their struggles with lost identity and the quest for justice which will free the ghost from its liminal state, and is thereby implicated in a crisis of subjectivity and prompted to reflect upon its own position in society.

AB - South Korean television drama often employs ghost stories as a medium for social critique, as in the series Dokkaebi: The Lonely and Great God (2016-17), Let’s Fight, Ghost (2016) and Oh My Ghost (2015). Blending ghost story with other genres, these series foreground the plight of characters who are either ghosts or young people able to see ghosts. Both are isolated by their liminal condition and the multiple personalities it entails, the ghosts because they cannot communicate with the living and the ghost seers because their uncanny ability has set them apart since childhood. Both lack immediate families, which further isolates them in a society with communal values centred on family. Both thus readily symbolize people marginalized because of gender, social status or restricted economic access, but also serve as a commentary on the disintegration of the family in contemporary South Korea. The viewing audience is positioned to align and empathize with ghost and/or seer in their struggles with lost identity and the quest for justice which will free the ghost from its liminal state, and is thereby implicated in a crisis of subjectivity and prompted to reflect upon its own position in society.

KW - Supernatural serial

KW - Cognition and affect

KW - Multiple personality

KW - Genre blending

KW - Script theory

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives

T2 - Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives

JF - Series: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives

SN - 2421-454X

IS - 2

ER -