chapter  8
17 Pages

Net power and the politics of the Internet media in South Korea keehyeung lee

Since the mid-1990s information and mobile technologies have been the most heavily invested and utilized industry under a state-led informationalization ( jungbojwa) policy in post-IMF Crisis South Korea (E. Kim and H. Kim 2005). Reflected in such often-touted slogans and mantras as ‘building an info-rich nation [ jungbokangkook]’ and IT-based ‘dynamic Korea’, official and dominant views on IT have been implicitly framed by and through a triumphant techno-developmentalism, in which IT was given supreme power to single-handedly revolutionize society and economy. It is fair to say that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been major material and institutional means of social transformation since the latter half of the 1990s. They are also ideologically endowed with a powerful normalizing agency of change and revolutionizing potential. In other words, in South Korea what Castells (2004) calls the informational paradigm as dominant discursive practice has been emphatically and enthusiastically propagated through, and put into practice by high ranking government officials, industry leaders, specialists in media and scholars of statecraft. Such technical and ideological meta-discourses inevitably have far-reaching and concrete effects on the political arena. This chapter will focus on the use of IT and the Net as powerful cultural technologies and multifaceted spaces of politically charged discursive deliberation and cultural performance in political mobilization for election and other political events through the Net in contemporary South Korea.