When Narrative Is Failed: A Comparative Study of Environmental Movement Narratives of Buddhist Society in South Korea

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 42 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Siyoon LEE, Sogang University, South Korea
In this study, I have tried to reveal the dual aspects of social movement of religious organizations through the case of South Korean Buddhist societies. Environmental movement is the most important area of religious organization’s social participation in Korea since late 90’s. In these movements, religious societies have been contributed to make the whole society to reflect the compressed modernization process and to search for the alternative way of life. A lot of movements were quite successful because of their rich resource mobilization potential including both material and social hegemonic one. However, in these movement process, most central element to successful mobilization was the construction of narratives that is sufficiently strong that they could interpret environmental issues as their own religious task: that is, the secular should be translated into the sacred. When this construction failed, mainly because of political-economic repression, environmental issues remained mere inner doctrinal controversy in religious societies. I will show different consequences of strength of narratives through the comparison between two representative environmental movements of Korean Buddhists: anti-movement against national development of Mt. Chunsungsan tunnel and Mt. Bukhansan tunnel.