2018: No Country for Blue Helmets

The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 3 | May 21, 2018
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No Country for Blue Helmets:
South Korean National Identity on the Screen in 'Descendants of the Sun'
Patrick Flamm

This paper provides a contextualized reading of the South Korean 2016 hit drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’, the most prominent pop cultural manifestation of the Republic of Korea’s rising status as a global middle power. Through linking the fictional peacekeeping mission to a confidently nationalist conception of South Korean identity, the drama normalizes troop deployments by circumventing traditional narratives for legitimation. This argument rests on observations concerning the omission of any historical and UN context for the deployment, the Othering of the United States as main antagonist, and the unchallenged sense of righteousness and morality displayed by the main protagonists in an otherwise passive local setting.

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