A sociological analysis of the red devil syndrome in 2002 fifa worldcup

Por: Kyungski Kim e Mikyung Hwang.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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2002 FIFA World Cup might be one of the most beautiful memory for Korean people. Why can’t they forget this moment? That’s because Korean had not achieved any victory in World Cup before, but they passed the first round, even more they qualified for the semifinal. Also millions of people showed their unity through cheering Korean team to victory. Then, how millions of people with red T-shirts came out to street to cheer up? How the "Red Devil" syndrome happened? The background of this question is that there was something hard to understand by simply explaining that many people cheered with enthusiasm of soccer. It is perceived that there was excessive narcissism in "Red Devil" syndrome. We discovered inducements of spreading the "Red Devil" syndrome in various factors such as hosting the World Cup, a glorious history of the semifinal, the campaign of "Be the Reds" by Red Devils, and the mass media. However, more significant factors should be embedded within social structure and system. It is natural to be explored and discussed in academic and national aspects as "Red Devil" syndrome implies a particular meaning in Korean society.

This paper examines inducements of the "Red Devil" syndrome from a sociological point of view, via content analysis and in-depth interviews. Fundamental data were gained from qualitative content analysis of mainstream periodical reports during 2002 World Cup. Based on content analysis, we had in-depth interviews with 20 Red Devils who were cheering on the street.

It is expected to have following results through the researches from above.

First, the "Red Devil" syndrome is caused by the aggressive character of Koreans which couldn’t be ignited from the IMF crisis. The World Cup brought the Koreans to the street, and the enthusiastic cheering up could be explained that the aggressive character which had been laid inside of Koreans was ignited as an organized and sophisticated way.

Second, the "Red Devil" syndrome is one of the best way to blow out the stress from everyday life. It is well explained that numerous citizen participated in the Red Devil movement not only for the street cheering up, but also to make it as a festival of all Koreans.

Third, the "Red Devil" syndrome is caused by ignition of citizen who want to feel catharses from the strict regulations of society. People always had a strong need to deviate from the regulations of our society. Street cheering up in World Cup provided the opportunities for the citizen to do some irregularities and traffic violations. Also numerous citizens ignited the "Red Devil" syndrome by participating the street cheering up to relieve cumulative stresses.

Fourth, it seems that the "Red Devil" syndrome is caused by independence of women from the Korean traditional culture. Women, who had been under traditionally pressure and inequalities had wanted to feel their presence as one of the members of society, just same as men. Historically, Korean society is dominated by men, and women had to be very passive especially in sports area. Through 2002 FIFA World Cup, women got a perfect chance to change a fixed idea of women has to be quiet and only listen to men, which had been laid deeply in Korean society.

Fifth, the "Red Devil" syndrome is caused by nationalism. Nationalism gathered all the citizen in front of Kwanghwamun(a public square in Seoul), and provided the chance to feel the pleasure as one unity. Consecutive victory and the beauty of unity made it possible to improve as a national confidence, and finally this had become a main factor caused the "Red Devil" syndrome.




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