The Korean Wave as a source of implicit cultural policy: Making of a neoliberal subjectivity in a Korean style

Hye-Kyung Lee, Xiyu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Korean Wave provides an effective vehicle for implicit cultural policies concerning the formation of a neoliberal subjectivity of young-generation South Koreans. By looking at two web dramas casting K-pop idols (commissioned by the Financial Services Commission and by Samsung) and a pop idol audition programme, we offer a detailed understanding of the prevailing discourse of youth in contemporary Korea and how this is naturalised across the boundaries of policy, business, media and fandom. The implicit cultural policy formulates a desirable self in a ‘Korean style’ by highlighting some of the psychological qualities of post-industrial creative workers and exploring Korean society’s existing inventory of the productive ethic and Confucian ideals. The juxtaposition of post-industrial and industrial ethics, and the tension between entrepreneurial self and collective self, impose a double burden on youth, leaving them little scope to contest the pervasive ‘desirable selfhood’.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • K-pop
  • Korean Wave
  • cultural policy
  • implicit cultural policy
  • neoliberal self
  • neoliberal subjectivity
  • reality TV
  • web drama

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