Suicide, precarity, and Korean media : a sociocultural analysis of the adolescent suicide epidemic in South Korea
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This thesis provides a sociocultural analysis on South Korea’s suicide epidemic, particularly focusing on the vulnerability of Korean youth. A discussion on the relevant psychosocial theories of suicide is presented, as well as an explanation of how the rise of precariousness in Korean society has caused Korea to have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Some of the major issues causing suicidality in young Koreans, including the competitive education system, bullying, job placement, and socioeconomic inequality, are discussed in detail. In addition, the impact of sensationalized reporting of celebrity suicides in Korean news media, as well as the pervasiveness of suicide narratives in Korean television shows is explored. As demonstrated by a textual analysis on two recent Korean dramas, Korean television both reflects and perpetuates Korea’s public suicide culture. Finally, an international comparison to the Netherlands and Switzerland is provided, in addition to a discussion on ways to lower the suicide rate among adolescents in South Korea.
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