The Star-Spangled Taegukgi: Investigating the Use of the Flag of the United States within Citizen Demonstrations in South Korea
Keywords:South Korea, International Relations, Protests, Civil Society, Protestantism
The observation of the flag of the United States being flown in protests in South Korea presents interesting insight not only into relations between South Korea and the United States, but also the domestic politics of partisan rifts in South Korea and identity politics. In particular, the extreme right displays a penchant for utilising the United States flag in its demonstrations. The United States as the symbol of anticommunism and her age-old involvement in South Korean affairs politically and militarily, proves to be particularly poignant to the identity of the South Korean extreme right. A less-explored perspective to this question is the role of religion and its links to the construction of the identity of the extreme right. Religion has been actively harnessed by political actors and social narratives, and is implicated in right-wing conceptions of patriotism and nationalist identity. Religion provides a link between South Korean and American conservatives, and decidedly contributes to the persistence of imagery related to the United States being used by the extreme right in citizen demonstrations.
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