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Reflecting Absence: Representing the Extraordinary Deaths of Ordinary Sailors in the Media

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This study undertakes a comparative analysis of the commemorative discourse used by the South Korean media, family members, and the general public in response to the deaths of 46 sailors on board a navy ship that was sunk by a North Korean torpedo in 2010. It identifies differences in the methods of remembrance among the different groups, with the media focusing on human values, professional ethics, and universal norms, while family members recalled everyday experiences with the deceased and stressed acceptance of death and the general public emphasized heroism, immortality, and national solidarity. This study discusses the differences in the understanding of death between South Koreans and Westerners.
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Keywords: Cheonan incident; collective memory; deaths of sailors; obituaries; ordinary people

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Visual and Mass Communication, Dongseo University, Busan, Korea 2: School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Korea University, Seoul, Korea 3: Department of Public Relations and Design, Eulji University, Seongnam, Korea

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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