Relentless villains or fervent netizens?: The alt-right community in Korea, Ilbe

Previous studies on the alt-right, a far-right movement based online, focus on its rise in Western countries. Alt-right communities have emerged more publicly in recent years and have contributed to strengthening overt expressions of hate. Such studies, however, have rarely focused on the alt-right beyond Western countries. It is critical to delve into alt-right communities in other parts of the world in order to understand the institutionalized hate of contemporary digital mediascapes. From an online textual analysis, the current study traces the developmental process of Ilbe, a representative alt-right group of Korea: its transition from a digital storehouse for provocative jokes to an influential alt-right group, and finally, to a virtual hideout where people express their hatred toward others, putting aside its far-right ideology. In doing so, the current study investigates how this alt-right group shares significant characteristics of digital media culture and develop them in its own fashion. This research contributes to understanding Asian Internet histories, including an exploration of the alt-right community and its online culture of hate. Moreover, this study demonstrates how such a trend in digital media culture influences the larger society.

Tags: alt-right, digital media subculture, Ilbe, Korea, participatory culture