From Gangnam to global: K-pop transcultural fan labour and South Korean soft power

Date created: 
Transcultural fandom
Fan labour
Soft power
Labour networks

Over the past two decades, the steady global popularity of South Korean pop music, known as K-pop, has brought with it a rise in scholarly inquiry surrounding not only the reception of the music itself, but also the potential it possesses in terms of soft power for the nation state. Much of the focus has been directed towards initiatives at the level of the government, the industry, and even the recognition of audiences across the world. Adding to this field of study, this project instead proposes to investigate how global fan labour in particular plays a role in the cultural diplomacy field through its inherent connectivity. More specifically, this project aims to elucidate the ways in which K-pop fan creation exists as a transcultural labour network that re sides within the affective spaces of attachment and exchange. Through employing a conjunct political economy and fandom studies lens, this thesis argues that it is the value of affective attachment constructed and promoted by the labour of fans that not only positions the fandom as active agents of soft power alongside industry and government but allows the work to be transformative in its position as a resistive experience and expression.

Document type: 
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.