Symbolic representations of financial events in the Korean media

Kim, A. (2019) Symbolic representations of financial events in the Korean media. Qualitative Research in Financial Markets. ISSN 1755-4179.

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This paper aims to explore and investigate the maintenance or (re)construction of (South) Korean identity during turbulent times of rapid social and economic change, especially since the 2008 financial crisis.

This study explores how the Korean media responded to financial events over the period between 2008 and 2013, and the ways in which iconographies of yin-yang were incorporated into Korean financial magazine cover images were investigated. Semiotic analysis of 20 magazine front covers was performed based on adapted Barthesian semiotics, which included front-cover background color, text color and vowel-structure interpretation following yin-yang principles. Findings were validated through semi-structured interviews with designers employed by the magazines.

Results show that Korean identity remains loyal to the traditional symbolic uses of yin-yang harmony to illustrate positive and negative sides of financial events, although there is some degree of following Western thinking in the use of symbols. This mirrors the modern Korean identity, which intertwines Western thinking with traditional values.

This paper provides an extended evaluation of the articulation of yin-yang principles by Koreans as elements of a worldview combining both Confucian and Western values. Yin-yang provides an inflexion to the ways in which events are depicted and denoted in “Confucian capitalistic” Korea. The suggested methodology triangulating semiotic interpretation with verification through interviews with designers can be extrapolated in other studies investigating the representation of events within a specific population or society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Korea; financial crisis; national identity; Barthesian semiotics; yin-yang
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > The Business School
Depositing User: Amee Kim
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 13:31
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 15:31

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00