Analyzing country images through networks: Case of South Korea

Efe Sevin, Kadir Jun Ayhan, Diana Ingenhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As communication moves to social media, countries are losing control over what messages are being circulated about themselves. This article explores how South Korea’s country image is reflected within this contemporary networked communication context. We argue that country images, defined as the perceptions of countries by foreign audiences, can be swayed not only by official actors engaging in public diplomacy and nation branding projects but by any internet user who contributes to a marketplace of images. Using a social listening platform, we captured all the tweets about South Korea sent from June 01, 2019 to Jan 31, 2020. Combining textual and network analyses, our study looked at the main actors, topics, and network structures that influence South Korea’s country image on Twitter. Our findings suggest that there is no unified South Korean country image, rather diverse and relatively dispersed images. We further found that official actors had limited impact on the conversations surrounding South Korea due to their insular activities. Our methodology and findings contribute to the nascent body of empirical works in country image studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-119
Number of pages25
JournalAsian International Studies Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
* This publication was supported by the Korean Studies Grant Program of the Academy of Korean Studies(AKS-2019-R42) ** Assistant Professor, Towson University, Maryland, USA; E-mail:; *** Visiting Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea; E-mail:; **** Professor, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland; E-mail: DOI: 10.16934/isr.21.2.202012.95

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Ewha Womans University Graduate School of International Studies. All rights reserved.


  • Country Images
  • Nation Branding
  • Network Analysis
  • Public Diplomacy
  • Soft Power
  • South Korea
  • Topic Modelling
  • Twitter


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