ARMY is a community of taste, and BTS is their common denominator. This book started from the wish to apply the perspective of a cultural studies scholar in order to investigate the fandom ARMY as a most ardent outcome to arise from a “community of taste.” On a personal level, the most pressing question was which vantage point to assume for myself. While research is a language of rigorous logic, criticism is a language of warm interpretation―or in the words of Terry Eagleton, “a sensitivity to the thickness and intricacy of the medium.” If research is to approach something through objectivity and tested theories, this book can be understood as a work of criticism for general readers, written by an Aca-Fan (academic and fan) who lets her affection shine through.
BTS and ARMY Culture illuminates how ARMY, which is a kind of imaginary community of BTS-loving fans, has created epistemic distance towards standard K-pop culture and cements BTS’ status in global mainstream music via tangible fan practices. To this aim, I analyze social media and online fan communities that serve as discursive spaces for ARMY, and observe in particular how ARMY forges BTS’ cultural status by compromising and negotiating with mass media that hold cultural power. This book revolves around these general aspects, and rather than posing as a work of theoretical criticism, its identity resembles an archival document that captures the dynamics of ARMY in the contemporary cultural landscape.
For ARMY, I hope that this book is valuable as a neat documentation of their achievements. To those who are curious about ARMY, I hope that this book can serve as a ‘full-scale anatomy of ARMY.
Source: the book’s preface