[Feature] Democracy in the Era of Pandemic and a “Korean Model” / Hwang Jung-a

The Quarterly Changbi 189, Autumn 2020

 

Abstract

In this issue’s feature, we offer opportunities to carefully examine what changes Covid-19 demands of us. As the pandemic requires from all of us a renewed resolution toward and changed approach to various problems for which our society had found it difficult to discover solutions, we should listen urgently to authors who identify the seeds created by Korean democracy that exist within the achievement of Korean pandemic responses, and pay attention to the realities of underappreciated care-giving labor, school ecosystems, and the countryside. Literary critic Hwang Jung-a discusses Korean responses to the current pandemic in relation to the ongoing deepening of democracy in Korea. While critically examining domestic and overseas evaluations of the so-called Korean success in its response to the pandemic, she argues that what is at the heart of this issue is not the opposition between control and freedom, as some people seem to believe, but the formation of a collective subjectivity that was born through the process of the Candlelight Revolution. While appreciating the role of Candlelight citizens who embrace the state’s intervention while at the same time exercising a “democratic and popular control” over it, she explores a new possibility of democracy: focusing on the concepts of the “commons” and “fraternity.”