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The discursive construction of discrimination: the representation of ethnic diversity in the Korean public service broadcasting news

Joo, Jaewon (2012) The discursive construction of discrimination: the representation of ethnic diversity in the Korean public service broadcasting news. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Globalisation has intensified the international movement of labour and South Korea is no exception. Korea, which in the past was itself a labour-exporting country, has seen a reversal in human mobility since the late 1990's with a rapid growth in immigration and a transformation of a previously almost ethnically homogenous society. However, studies on migrant and ethnic minority groups in Korea have primarily focussed on such areas as industrial law and social policy. In this context, the important questions about the cultural and political implications associated with the construction of minority representations in the media have remained highly unexplored. The starting point of this study is an examination of the vital role of public service broadcasting (PSB) in Korean society, where ethnic minorities have increasingly become visible. Korean PSB's mandate, following the BBC model, emphasises the broadcaster‟s responsibility to represent and reflect the range of public opinion and experiences beyond class, age, ethnicity and ideological orientation. Despite this commitment what this study shows is that PSB in South Korea has failed to fairly represent the culturally diverse groups within Korean society. The main purpose of this study is to empirically examine the means through which PSB generates discourses of We-ness and Otherness at times of change in the Korean society. Empirically, the study focuses on primetime PSB news visual and textual representations of migrants and ethnic minorities. With the use of critical discourse analysis (CDA) it demonstrates that PSB gives a concrete form to the ideological constructions of Otherness, sometimes transforming subtle cultural or social differences into fundamental and oppositional ones. Korean PSB appears to be ideologically biased toward nationalism, while in its visual and textual representations it constructs ideological systems of social and racial stratification, with Southeast Asian migrants constantly represented as the ultimate Others. The study shows the significant role of PSB in representing cultural diversity in public debates and the ways in which such representations and their dissemination reflect media power.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Jaewon Joo
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Georgiou, Myria

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