Mapping Out the Cultural Politics of “the Korean Wave” in Contemporary South Korea

Keehyeung Lee

in East Asian Pop Culture

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9789622098923
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206885 | DOI:
Mapping Out the Cultural Politics of “the Korean Wave” in Contemporary South Korea

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This chapter critically examines three competing positions on the Korean Wave or Hanryu in South Korea developed by the South Korean government, cultural producers and critical intellectuals; namely, neoliberalism, state-centric nationalism, culturalism cum post-colonialism. It reviews a diverse range of issues regarding the rapid diffusion and growing popularity of South Korean cultural products across Asia by employing a critical and culturally nuanced approach. It aims to provide alternative, nonnationalist ways of envisioning the flow of South Korean popular culture across Asia so as to further inter-regional cultural understanding and dialogues. It then raises several thought-provoking issues and problematics on the emergence of Hanryu. Looking at the recent circulation of Hanryu discourses through the cultural studies lens presents new forms of explanation of translocally consumed cultural texts as well as new problematics that need more than critical discursive intervention.

Keywords: Korean Wave; Hanryu; South Korea; neoliberalism; state-centric nationalism; culturalism; post-colonialism; South Korean popular culture

Chapter.  5967 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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