Assembling good citizenship under Korean COVID-19 surveillance

Eun Sung Kim, Ji Bum Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Korean COVID-19 surveillance system generates public discourses on good citizenship regarding civic duty, human rights, and social equality by releasing the travel history information of COVID-19 patients to the public. Through digital ethnography, this article examines how good citizenship is constructed in three material contexts–things, places, and mobility–associated with COVID-19 patients’ movements. From the new materialist perspective, citizenship is an outcome of the socio-material assemblage of things, people, and institutions. We view travel history information as ‘actants’ that affect people’s behaviors, especially, mom cafés mothers’ conception of good citizenship. This citizenship involves materiality related to face masks and COVID-19, a sense of place in terms of crowded places, and the physical mobility of COVID-19 patients. The disclosure policy on travel history information plays a vital role in overweighing civic duty over human rights and social equality by decontextualizing the life of COVID-19 patients due to concerns over privacy infringement. This policy spawns a uniform citizenship that overlooks the economic and cultural differences among COVID-19 patients. Ultimately, irregular employees, sexual minorities, and delivery workers carry a greater burden in complying with the civic duties of the general population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • citizenship
  • inequality
  • mask
  • mobility
  • new materialism
  • place


Dive into the research topics of 'Assembling good citizenship under Korean COVID-19 surveillance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this