Déjà vu, déjà entendu [17]

[An San a été] harcelée par des personnes avec des idées du Moyen Âge mais des moyens techniques du 21ème siècle. C’est souvent un mélange très compliqué, et c’est un mélange particulièrement explosif en Corée du Sud.

(From 0:52 in; any error in transcription is mine.)

While we are at it, let me plug in a couple of passages I wrote earlier.

In his work titled “Korea’s Crisis of Success,” Byung-Kook Kim (1997, pp.130–131) argues that the poor health of Korean party politics after the democratic transition is due to the lack of viable new “software” for running the “hardware” instituted and consolidated since 1987. Kim’s argument has nothing to do with the Internet, let alone Web 2.0, but a useful parallel can be drawn from it. To paraphrase him, Web 2.0 has not presented a linear progression towards a higher level of interactivity and of citizen participation in the Korean case, because the country’s market dynamics as well as its institutional dynamics (“software”) are not in keeping with its rapid technological and infrastructural development (“hardware”), and this somehow hinders creative interpretations of Web 2.0 on the part of individual users.

Lee, Y. (2009). ‘Internet Election 2.0? Culture, Institutions, and Technology in the Korean Presidential Elections of 2002 and 2007’. JITP 6(3): 312-325.

From investigating the ways in which the Internet was conceptualised and positioned in the arena of Korean politics from 2002 to 2007, my principal finding is a tension at play in Korean society — a highly technologically advanced society grounded in very traditional notions of institutions. To be more specific, the interplay between the existing institutional values (including legal frameworks, Confucian ethos, and the 1980s’ pro-democracy movement tradition) and what the Internet offers (both technically and metaphorically) was possibly the most significant factor that this study has identified.

Lee, Y. (2009). Internet-Facilitated Political Mobilisation: A Case Study of Nosamo, the Supporters Network of the 16th President of South Korea. PhD thesis, UoL.

Despite its significant political potential demonstrated, the Eonsoju case illustrates how ‘fragile’ P2P organising can be vis-à-vis legal and other institutional forces (see also Etling et al., 2010). […] the significance of the present study lies in the fact that it has thrown up some fundamental questions. One of them is whether horizontally networked efforts such as Eonsoju will ever be able to match up to vertically aligned institutions, especially in societies like Korea where the latter have always been more prominent (Lee, 2009b). Another question is, in a broader interpretation of the findings of Etling et al. (2010) and Dean (2005), how then to create a system that is more ‘responsive’ to the needs and opinions expressed through such networks and harness their democratising potential. Cyberspace is often presented as a clever means of circumvention for bottom-up initiatives, but the life of Eonsoju depicted here highlights that such initiatives cannot be a sustainable solution without being grounded in a physical world that is responsive to and supportive of grassroots development.

Lee, Y. (2016). The fragile beauty of peer-to-peer activism: The public campaign for the rights of media consumers in South Korea. NMS 18(10): 2254-2270.

Déjà vu, déjà entendu [16]

Finally a positive one in this ongoing series.

Metaphors we live by [4]

Interesting! See also:

💡 George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, 1980.

Try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war, where no one wins or loses, where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground. Imagine a culture where an argument is viewed as a dance, the participants are seen as performers, and the goal is to perform in a balanced and aesthetically pleasing way. In such a culture, people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently.

💡 Marius Comper, ‘How do metaphors shape political influence?‘, 4 March 2014, re. James Geary’s I Is an Other, 2011.

The term “greenhouse gases” is a case in point. Cultural Logic did hundreds of consumer interviews around the subject of climate change and hardly anyone spontaneously referred to greenhouse gases in their responses. When specifically asked about the term, few could explain how it related to global warming. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise, since few people have any direct knowledge of greenhouses these days. As a result, when prompted, subjects in the Cultural Logic study typically described greenhouses as “nice places where plants live,” according to Grady—hardly the right connotations for a discussion of global warming. Which suggested to the folks at Cultural Logic that “greenhouse gases” is an unhelpful metaphor. So they alighted on a more productive one—”carbon dioxide blanket,” which has the virtue of explicitly naming the offending gas (CO2) but the drawback of suggesting that its embrace is warm and cuddly.

💡 Tim Hwang & Karen Levy, ‘‘The cloud’ and other dangerous metaphors’, The Atlantic, 20 January 2015.

And in all our talk about streams and exhaust and mines and clouds, one thing is striking: People are nowhere to be found. These metaphors overwhelmingly draw from the natural world and the processes we use to draw resources from it; because of this, they naturalize and depersonalize data and its collection. Our current data metaphors do us a disservice by masking the human behaviors, relationships, and communications that make up all that data we’re streaming and mining. They make it easy to get lost in the quantity of the data without remembering how personal so much of it is. And if people forget that, it’s easy to understand how large-scale ethical breaches happen; the metaphors help us to lose track of what we’re really talking about.


The baggage I carry

Today I have learnt from Twitter wisdom that if you go to hell, they will read your master’s dissertation out to you. I would probably die again.

I essentially said in mine (2000) that personalised advertising could be a good thing. I can’t disown my past, but that’s the baggage I carry.

As if it has a life of its own

Navigating life through screens [3]

That ambivalent space

Been thinking a lot about group chats on WhatsApp and the like. The ambivalence of those little pockets of space.

— “To put it another way, “a meme is never just a meme,” in the words of Phillips and Milner (2017, italics added) with reference to Harvard’s decision to rescind admission offers from ten prospective students for having posted rape-apologist, pe­dophilic, and violently racist memes on Facebook. A May 2018 court ruling in India, ob­serving that forwarding a social media post is equal to endorsing it, also echoes the point that content sharing is a speech act in its own right (Ashok, 2018).” (Lee & Scott-Baumann, 2020)

Exeter university students suspended over racism and rape claims (BBC, 20 March 2018).

University of Warwick suspends 11 students over hate posts (BBC, 9 May 2018).

Spycams, sex abuse and scandal: #MeToo reaches Korean pop (Justin McCurry, The Guardian, 22 March 2019)

Inside the secret border patrol Facebook group where agents joke about migrant deaths and post sexist memes (A. C. Thompson, Pro Publica, 1 July 2019)

German state suspends 29 police officers in far-right online chat group (DW, 16 September 2020)

Scottish police officers lose disciplinary fight over racist messages (Severin Carrell, The Guardian, 16 September 2020)

WhatsApp Vigilantes: An exploration of citizen reception and circulation of WhatsApp misinformation linked to mob violence in India (Shakuntala Banaji & Ram Bhat, Media@LSE, 11 November 2019)

Facebook’s role in the genocide in Myanmar: New reporting complicates the narrative (Evelyn Douek, Lawfare, 22 October 2018)

Hate speech on Facebook is pushing Ethiopia dangerously close to a genocide (David Gilbert, Vice, 14 September 2020)

Sliding boundaries [2]

Not a School: Using Tech for Good with Samsung

Been alerted to a new suite of online courses from FutureLearn and Samsung aimed at 18 to 25-year-olds.

  • Turn climate anxiety into positive action
  • Solving inequality in education
  • Respect our differences online
  • Building human connection in a digital world

🤔 #신박

See also:

Barclays Life Skills

Barclays Digital Eagles

— RT @MedFet_UK Today we donated our entire stock of disposable scrubs to an NHS hospital. It was just a few sets, because we don’t carry large stocks, but they were desperate, so we sent them free of charge. We don’t usually do politics on Twitter, but here’s a short thread. [1/5]

When you see someone from the government saying the NHS is getting what it needs, that is a LIE. We have been contacted this week by representatives of NHS procurement all over the country, trying to source basic protective equipment and clothing. [2/5]

When we, a tiny company set up to serve a small section of the kink community, find ourselves being sought out as a last-resort supplier to our National Health Service in a time of crisis, something is seriously wrong. In fact, it’s scandalous. [3/5]

Let’s be under no illusions, this is the result of a decade of chronic underfunding and cuts which has left the NHS barely able to cope under normal circumstances, much less when faced with the onslaught of a global pandemic. It did not, and should not, have to be this way [4/5]

So when it’s all over…and the doctors, nurses and other staff have done an amazing job (as they undoubtedly will despite the circumstances)…let’s not forget, or forgive, the ones who sent the NHS into this battle with inadequate armour and one hand tied behind its back. [End] (27 March 2020)

— RT @steak_umm we’re a frozen meat brand posting ads inevitably made to misdirect people and generate sales, so this is peak irony, but hey we live in a society so please make informed decisions to the best of your ability and don’t let anecdotes dictate your worldview ok

steak-umm bless (7 April 2020)

Who is Karl Marx: Meet the anti-capitalist scholar (Adryan Corcione, Teen Vogue, 10 May 2018)

We must dismantle white supremacy: Silence is NOT an option (Ben & Jerry’s, 2020)

My fangirl’s heart [2]

BTS and K-Pop fans strike a blow to support #BlackLivesMatter (R. O. Kwon, Vanity Fair, 6 June 2020, crossposted 7 June 2020; see also “Deconstructing K-pop fans“, Billboard, 16 March 2020; “Global production, circulation, and consumption of Gangnam Style“, IJOC, 2014)

I’m troubled, though, by some of the ways people seem to view activist K-pop fans—as an invading monolith, an alien body. “I’m a little saddened that we’re seen as an outside force in all of this when in reality we have been deeply involved since the beginning by sharing petition links, donating, and spreading useful information,” says @7soulsmap. “It’s less about K-pop and more about us already being a well-networked community on social media.” In addition, as is often pointed out, many K-pop fans are Black, and it’s simplistic—and racist—to imagine that the two groups are mutually exclusive.

The BTS Army and the transformative power of fandom as activism (Emma Madden, The Ringer, 11 June 2020, crossposted 12 June 2020)

Traditionally, the purpose of activism has been to challenge systemic hegemonies and corporate structures; from its beginnings, fan activism has functioned similarly—even if for nonpolitical ends. […] Then, when the internet arrived, “fans were early to embrace networked communication because they were in effect already a virtual community of people brought together around common interests without regard to geographic location,” writes Jenkins. […]

Buttressed by the advances of fandom within the past few decades—diversity, empowerment, cocreation, and participation—the BTS Army is made up of lawyers, scholars, academic tutors, graphic designers, authors, artists, marketing professionals, and very online teenagers, all of whom contribute to the overall organizational structure of the Army. As a result, they’re on equal footing with, or perhaps even surpass, BTS themselves, in terms of drawing light on charity causes […].

Surprised at seeing K-pop fans stand up for Black Lives Matter? You shouldn’t be. (Yim Hyun-su, The Washington Post, 12 June 2020)

So why did many of us not see this side of the K-pop fandom? For one, while the gamer and streamer communities have been taken a lot more seriously by the media, efforts to study the K-pop community have been scarce.

And as many female fans and beat reporters have pointed out, we must also address the elephant in the room — sexism. It’s what has demonized the word “fangirl” and other things women are passionate about, leading to bizarre stereotypes of who K-pop fans are.

TikTok teens and K-pop stans say they sank Trump rally (Taylor Lorenz, The New York Times, 21 June 2020)

RT @m_older Hi @nytimes, are you sure “prank” is the word you were looking for here? (21 June 2020)

RT @ngleicher 1/ There’s been an important debate today about an online campaign to inflate ticket sales at the Tulsa rally, and whether this constitutes deceptive behavior (cc
@persily @evelyndouek). Based on public reporting, this isn’t CIB as we define it. #thread (21 June 2020)

RT @aetherlev Okay I want to talk about the TikTok/K-pop stan let’s-troll-Trump operation and specifically about the data gathering aspect of it. (21 June 2020)

TikTokers are trying to troll the Trump campaign through its online store (Zachary Petrizzo, Daily Dot, 27 June 2020)

The civic hijinks of K-pop’s super fans (Crystal Abidin & Thomas Baudinette, Data & Society, 1 July 2020)

The mobilizing power of the BTS ARMY (Aditi Bhandari, Reuters, 14 July 2020)