A feminist political economy of the Korean popular music industry

Date created: 
Feminist political economy
Gender inequality
Korean girl groups
Korean popular music industry
Political economy of communication

Gender disparity is an emerging issue in contemporary South Korea. Despite the significant increase in gendered concerns, there has been a lack of discussion on gender inequality problems in the Korean popular music industry. For this reason, this thesis aims to investigate gender inequalities and power relations embedded in the male-dominated Korean popular music industry by analyzing the texts, images and music of Korean girl groups through the lens of a feminist political economy. In doing so, this study utilizes textual analysis in order to examine how gendered hierarchy and patriarchal power, acting as industrial practices, exploit Korean girl groups in the Korean popular music industry. The primary findings suggest that Korean girl groups are commodified as a marketable field of business; they are fetishized through the exhibition of their pressured femininity and passive uniformity, and they are reproduced as a form of sexual commodity within the gendered-hierarchical system of manufacturing Korean pop groups. In conclusion, this thesis proposes a critical perspective on a gendered mechanism of the Korean popular music industry as a site of power struggle.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Dal Yong Jin
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.