This article looks into how media representations of North Korean defectors reproduce the images of North Korean defectors, while paying particular attention to the contrasting voices of North Korean defectors which reflect self-presentation. The media-perpetuated image of North Korean defectors as displaced victims whose memories are mostly clustered around the oppressive regime fails to grasp the intersection of aspiration, determination, and agency of North Korean defectors. The self-presentation of North Korean defectors reveals that they are eager to be in charge of constructing and controlling their own images, which goes beyond hitherto nationalized, gendered, and ethnicized identities. Self-presentation, at the same time, is a product of strategic choices conditioned by social discourse and media representation.
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© 2020 The Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, Seoul National University.
- Media representation
- South Korea
- North Korean defectors