Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalSeries: International Journal of TV Serial Narratives
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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


Dive into the research topics of 'Supernatural serials as social critique in recent South Korean television'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this