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South Korean Popular Culture in the Global Context: Beyond the Fandom

This book explores the recent landscape of Korean popular culture, including celebrity diplomacy, political activism, and inter-Korean relations in the era of ‘ontact’, with a special focus on K-pop and K-drama.

Utilising the interdisciplinary approach, along with theoretical accounts, it redefines popular culture and its true power – beyond soft power – including discussions of how the pandemic and the use of online platforms have coincidently or effectively influenced recent phenomena surrounding Korean popular culture. It reveals both the possibilities and pitfalls of Hallyu diplomacy and the UN’s celebrity diplomacy more broadly, and highlights how, through the mobilisation of a large internet fanbase, the modern K-pop ‘standom’ can influence political discourse. The book also features an examination of the political significance of the K-drama through which it highlights the potential of popular media to impact inter-Korean relations and inform current international understanding and perception of the Korean conflict.

Dealing with the wider scope of Korean popular culture this book will be a valuable resource to students and scholars of South Korea, international relations, public diplomacy, political activism, and cultural and media studies.

Source: publisher’s website


1. Introduction: Sojin Lim

2. BTS’ Soft Power and Public Diplomacy: Partnership with UNICEF: Hee Kyoung Chang

3. Stan Activism: Is K-Pop the New Punk? Niki J.P. Alsford

4. Desiring Machines: Portrait of a K-Pop Fan: David A. Tizzard

5. Entertainment and Equity in the Era of “Ontact”: Jenna Gibson and Tamar Herman

6. The Use of Culture and Cultural Products in Inter-Korean Relations: Marco Milani

7. Screening the Inter-Korean Conflict: The Politics of Crash Landing on You: Juliette Schwak and Sarah A. Son

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.