During Korea’s “candlelight revolution,” ordinary Korean people rallied together to protest corruption in the political system and ultimately brought about the impeachment of the sitting president. The #MeToo and #WithYou movements shed light on sexual violence perpetrated by those in power, and survivors and their supporters, first in the United States and now around the world, continue to make their voices heard. The student-led anti-gun campaign in the United States saw young people take collective action in the wake of successive school shootings, leading to the passage of tougher gun control legislation. More recently in Korea, accounts have continued to emerge of how skewed power dynamics have enabled gross abuses of the privileges associated with authority, wealth, and status. All around, problems long suppressed or left unquestioned are rising to the surface. Voices calling for change have been joined by voices expressing support and solidarity. Justice, equality, and human rights in Korean society, and that always seemed too deeply rooted to ever change.
In today’s “free-for-all” world of worsening economic polarization and defunct social safety nets, simply surviving has becoming a struggle. Yet in the face of such mounting pressures and challenges, there is a growing recognition that the issues that affect us as individuals affect us as a society, and that speaking up is not a luxury but a necessity. Against this back drop, social media and new forms of media technology are providing a platform for people in different regions and communities to tell and spread their stories and come together in mutual support.
Under the theme “A New Common Sence: Individuals Changing the World,” the SDF 2018 will examine the substance of the “new common sense” taking shape amid the disintegration of entrenched practices and ways of thinking and explore how individuals empowered in their connection to one another are ushering in real, tangible change. Moreover, it will consider what kinds of policies, technologies, and social systems are necessary to ensure that such changes do not end as one-off developments but rather become the impetus for genuine transformation, as well as what measures can be taken to address and overcome the accompanying challenges.