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Networked Collective Actions: The Making of an Impeachment

Massive and sustained candlelight vigils in 2016–2017, the most significant citizen-led protests in the history of democratic South Korea, led to the impeachment and removal of then President Park Geun-hye. These protests took place in a South Korean media environment characterized by polarization and low public trust, and where conspiracy theories and false claims by those opposing impeachment were frequently amplified by extreme right-wing media outlets. How then was it possible for pro-impeachment protests seeking major social change to succeed? And why did pro-Park protesters and government efforts to defend Park ultimately fail? An agent-affordance framework is introduced to explain how key participants (agents), including journalists, citizens, social media influencers, bots, and civic organizations, together produced a broad citizen consensus that Park should be removed from office. This was accomplished by creatively employing affordances made available by South Korea’s history, legal system, and technologies. New empirical evidence illustrates the ongoing significant roles of both traditional and nontraditional agents as they continue to co-adapt to affordances provided by changing information environments. Interviews with key players yield firsthand descriptions of events. The interviews, original content analyses of media reports, and examination of social media posts combine to provide strong empirical support for the agent-affordance framework. Lessons drawn from citizen-led protests surrounding Park Geun-hye’s removal from office in South Korea are used to offer suggestions for how technology-enabled affordances may support and constrain movements for social change elsewhere in the world.

Source: publisher’s website


  1. Introduction
  2. Agent-Affordance Framework of Networked Collective Actions
  3. The Changing Information Ecosystem in South Korea
  4. Candlelight Vigils and Citizen Activism
  5. Sewol Ferry Disaster: Growing Anger Toward President Park
  6. Networked Collective Action and the Impeachment of President Park
  7. Park’s Supporters Fight Back: Conspiracy Theories and Far-Right Groups
  8. After the Candles Were Extinguished: Post-impeachment Issues
  9. Conclusion: Evolving Agent-Affordance Interactions and Information Ecosystem

Entry on here.

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