SHRUTHI MParticipant@shruthiJune 23, 2023 at 10:56 pm #35354
As a critical reconsideration of the recent growth of South Korean popular music, also known as K-pop, this paper explores historical continuities and breaks in this musical genre through an examination of its female idols. Given that the recording industry both creates a new culture and is inuenced by the broader social environment in which its creation takes place,1 the status of K-pop female idols as a dominant cultural genre in contemporary Korea warrants further scholarly interrogation. As a revival of the girl groups popular in both the United States and Korea during the 1950s and 60s, K-pop idols have occupied the center stage of mainstream commercial culture in Korea since the 1997 Asian fnancial crisis. While impeccable appearances, the latest fashions, and synchronized choreography are celebrated as K-pop’s idiosyncratic features, this style is not new but instead renovates Motown Records’ previously successful strategies for marketing girl groups, as well as those of its earlier Korean counter-parts. Beginning with the premise that the “very concept of genre promises to transform historical specicity into formal universality,”2 I investigate how and why K-pop female idols have been successful since 1997, while Western girl groups like the Spice Girls resurfaced only briey in the early 1990s. This paper regards the proliferation of K-pop idols as a formal universality that commodies sexualized female bodies within a neoliberal, patriarchal Korean society that functions as historical specicity
There is a growing body of scholarly research focused on under-standing how K-pop and Korean popular culture in general, also known as Hallyu, have become globally popular in recent years. However the existing literature tends to explain this phenomenon from industrial and technical perspectives, attributing its success to the Korean culture industry’s business innovations.
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