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Mapping out the K-pop fandom in the UK

Mapping out the K-pop fandom in the UK

Yoon, Hyunsun ORCID: 0000-0001-5679-3335 (2011) Mapping out the K-pop fandom in the UK. In: Asian Pop Culture Forum Conference - New Korean Wave: Asia and Beyond, 1-2 September 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea. (Submitted)

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This study offers an ethnographic account of cultural practices of the K-pop fans in the UK. It considers the ways in which the UK’s social milieu receives culturally hybridized K-pop, in particular how young fans consume this cultural import. While focusing on the emergence, development and prospects of K-pop fandom, it also examines the ways in which the media – both the British and the Korean – responded to K-pop phenomenon and how the fans have appropriated the media representation. The theoretical framework of this study comes from relevant literature on the Korean wave, on fandom, and on popular music and youth culture. In the British context, the emergence of the K-pop fandom cannot be attributed to the cultural similarities and geographic proximity nor the popularity of the Korean dramas; it was social media that facilitated the spread of K-pop popularity. The study reveals that the UK K-pop fans are media literate and well-mannered, far from the stereotyped image of fans being obsessive loner or hysterical crowd. It also shows that there is a potential to develop a distinct subculture: within the K-pop fan community, ‘subcultural’ sensibilities were found in the ways that they often used their knowledge of music, dance, and music industry in cultural production as well as cultural consumption. Media representation was found lagged behind the times in that the British media was Orientalist while the Korean counterpart was nationalistic. Although K-pop does not seem to have ‘invaded’ Britain and there is quite a long way to go before K-pop is accepted by the mainstream media and music industry, this study concludes that 2011 clearly marked the landing of the K-pop in the UK. Subtle approach in a long term, with not too much of a commercial drive at first, is recommended in arguably the most ‘impermeable’ British market.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Korean wave, K-pop, fandom, ethnography, subculture, popular music
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Marketing, Events & Tourism
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 15:49

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