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The Korea Now Podcast

Oct 13, 2019

This episode of the Korea Now podcast features an interview that Jed Lea-Henry conducted with Liora Sarfati. They speak about the protests that arose from the Sewol tragedy, the broader social issues that the tragedy highlighted, the people involved in the protests, the challenges of mass commemoration events, the history of South Korean street protests and mass mobilization, the symbolic links between this history and the Sewol protests, the figure of then-President Park Geun-hye in this tragedy, the way she failed most Koreans expectations of leadership, the non-alignment of legality and morality in this regard, how these events affected Park Geun-hye’s eventual removal from office, the Candlelight Revolution that forced her impeachment and criminal investigation, the way that current-President Moon Jae-in took advantage of these street protests to facilitate his election, and the future and effectiveness of mass mobilization in South Korea.

Liora Sarfati is a Lecturer at the Department of East Asian Studies of Tel Aviv University. Her research on the production of shamanic rituals in contemporary South Korea includes the representation of this belief system in rituals, museums, films, television and the Internet. Since 2014, she has also conducted ethnography within the Sewŏl movement in Seoul, which protests and commemorates the 304 victims of the Sewŏl ferry's sinking.  Her research methods include urban ethnography as well as folklore research using archives of documents produced by Japanese colonial anthropologists. You can follow Liora’s work at and pertinent to this podcast, she is the author of: ‘Morality and Legitimacy in the Sewol Protest in South Korea’ (, ‘Affective Protest Symbols: Public Dissent in the Mass Commemoration of the Sewŏl Ferry's Victims in Seoul’, (ŏl_Ferrys_Victims_in_Seoul_co-authored_with_Bora_Chung), ‘Governance, Morality and Legitimacy in the Aftermath of the Sewŏl Ferry Disaster’ (ŏl_Ferry_Disaster).

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