This research examines the Korean state's position in the development of its cultural industries. In contrast to doctrines of neoliberal globalization that demand that the state minimize its presence in industrial development and emphasize the market's management of cultural products, the state maintains its position in the cultural industries as their products are effective tools for the state to govern the population and exert influence overseas. Despite pressures from major market players, many states have reconfigured their roles and positions in cultural industries as major stakeholders. Based on interviews with policymakers and cultural workers and analysis of policy documents, this study finds that the Korean state has been an important stakeholder in developing the cultural industries. In collaboration with the nation's leading conglomerates, it played significant roles in developing cultural businesses. Depending on each administration's political inclination and economic conditions, it has employed both neoliberal measures and state-interventionist methods to make cultural businesses competitive in the global market—from establishing a mega-size public organization that provided direct supports for every stage of cultural production to entrusting market players to manage the state's budget for supporting cultural businesses. This reflects the legacies of the Korean developmental state in which the state mobilizes and allocates resources to develop the economy. The Korean state continues utilizing cultural products and their global popularity to accomplish its political and economic missions, from strengthening its soft power to increasing the number of exports. The state's emphasis on the utility of cultural products provoked criticism of the approach as hyper-instrumentalist from many cultural workers, who saw such policies as characteristic of short-termism practices and as 'window dressing' for political and bureaucratic clout. Such an instrumentalist approach saw the government suppress creators in industries if they criticized its political agenda. The findings of this study also explore how the state continues its involvement in the cultural industries alongside the drivers of private capital and global market forces. By collaborating, managing, and even suppressing cultural production and goods, the state persists in its participation in the management of cultural industries.
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Thesis advisor: Jin, Dal Yong
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