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Introducing Korean Popular Culture

This new textbook is a timely and interdisciplinary resource for students looking for an introduction to Korean popular culture, exploring the multifaceted meaning of Korean popular culture at micro and macro levels and the process of cultural production, representation, circulation and consumption in a global context.

Drawing on perspectives from the humanities and social sciences, including media and communications, film studies, musicology, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, history and literature, this book provides a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of Korean popular culture and its historical underpinnings, changing roles and dynamic meanings in the present moment of the digital social media age. The book’s sections include:

  • K-pop Music
  • Popular Cinema
  • Television
  • Web Drama, Webtoon and Animation
  • Digital Games and Esports
  • Lifestyle Media, Fashion and Food
  • Nation Branding

An accessible, comprehensive and thought-provoking work, providing historical and contemporary contexts, key issues and debates, this textbook will appeal to students of and providers of courses on popular culture, media studies and Korean culture and society more broadly.

Source: publisher’s website


Introduction: Situating Korean Popular Culture in the Global Culture Landscape | Youna Kim

Part 1: K-pop Music

  1. K-pop in the History of the Korean Wave: A Long Revolution | Younghan Cho
  2. Digital K-pop Fan Platforms in a Cosmopolitan World | Sarah Keith
  3. Chart Manipulation and Fan Labor in the Online Moral Economy of K-pop | Stephanie Jiyun Choi
  4. Celebrity Fashion and Fan Consumption: BTS “Jungkook Hanbok” | Myoung-Sun Song

Part 2: Popular Cinema

  1. The Rise of New Korean Cinema and Hallyu | Chi-Yun Shin
  2. Parasite and Snowpiercer as Derivations to Hallyu: Korean Cinema, Neoliberalism and Semi-Global Exclusivity | Keith B. Wagner
  3. Her Revenge: Low Birthrate Cinema from Lady Vengeance to The Villainess | Joseph Jonghyun Jeon
  4. The Climate of Cinema: Gender, Debt and the Future of Labor in Squid Game and Parasite | Soyoung Kim

Part 3: Television

  1. The Korean Wave Television: From Winter Sonata to Squid Game | Youna Kim
  2. Netflix and Korean Drama: Cultural Resonance, Affect and Consumption in Asia | Anthony Fung and Jindong Leo-Liu
  3. Gender and the Paradox of Body Politics in Korean Makeover Television | Ji-yoon An
  4. Democratization, Social Media and Korean Television in Transition | Ki-Sung Kwak

Part 4: Web Drama, Webtoon and Animation

  1. Korean Web Drama on the Rise: The Difference Independent Productions Make | Jennifer M. Kang
  2. Korean Webtoon and Identity Politics in the Digital Age | Hyung-Gu Lynn
  3. Transmediating Tradition: Convergence of Premodern Prose, Webtoons and Audio Comics | Jina E. Kim
  4. Cultural Identity in Transnational Korean Animation: The Stateless Fantasy of Ragnarök | Daniel Martin

Part 5: Digital Games and Esports

  1. The Political Economy of the Digital Game Industry: An Analysis of Transnational Capital | Dal Yong Jin
  2. Techno-Orientalism in Global/Korean Esports: “They Play Games Really Well, But It Is Us to Have Them Play” | Tae-Jin Yoon and Kyunghyuk Lee
  3. Visualizing the Invisible: Korean Esports and the Representation of Gameplay Skill | Keung Yoon Bae
  4. Between Super Players and Mega Fans: The Emergence of Data-Led Gaming Environments in Korean Esports | Peichi Chung

Part 6: Lifestyle Media, Fashion and Food

  1. South Korean Celebrities and Lifestyle Media | Olga Fedorenko
  2. K-fashion E-tailers and Consumption in the Global Market | Eunsuk Hur
  3. Precarious Eating: Young Koreans’ Digital Practice of Mukbang | Kyong Yoon

Part 7: Popular Culture and Nation Branding

  1. Branding the Sense of Place: Gangnam as the Epicenter of the Korean Wave | Pil Ho Kim
  2. First Time in Korea?: The Mediation of Strangeness through Food Practices | Jaehyeon Jeong
  3. The Korean Wave and Mega-Asia: Imagining a Pan-Asian Community | Doobo Shim

* 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.