Talking With the 'Hermit Regime'| Mapping Communication Research Concerning North Korea: A Systematic Review (2000–2019)

Soomin Seo, Seungahn Nah


Although North Korea is increasingly in the limelight of international news, a systematic review has yet to offer an accumulated body of knowledge regarding North Korea and its related communication scholarship. This study assesses the current state of research on media and communication in, around, and about North Korea from 2000 to June 2019. It examines a total of 85 research articles published in 57 journals. Overall, it finds an explosion in research after 2009. Findings reveal that research overwhelmingly deals with content analysis of Western media coverage, which indicates a strong influence of Cold War binaries. Findings also show that North Korea’s media environment has been moving toward more openness and better connectivity. Ultimately, this study finds a need for more comparative research to examine not only content, but also audience and producers—to include those inside North Korea, for which innovative, interdisciplinary approaches are called for.


: global media, North Korea, research agenda, systematic review

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