De-nationalization And Re-nationalization: The Globalization of K-Pop And New East Asian Identity

Gyu Tag Lee

Advisor: Paul Smith, PhD, Cultural Studies Program

Committee Members: Timothy Gibson, Dae Young Kim

Johnson Center, B
April 29, 2013, 01:00 PM to 09:30 AM


K-Pop – contemporary Korean dance music – is currently becoming one of the popular music genres in the world. It firstly was globalized in East Asian region, and recently it is being globalized in the rest of the world including US and the West. This dissertation demonstrates that the development of K-Pop was based on globalization of culture, media and communication technology such as the reinforcement of global copyright system, penetration of global media into East Asia, and spread of digitalization. K-Pop is the localization/indigenization of global popular music within its own context. I demonstrate that due to the development of capitalism and globalization of culture occurred in East Asia in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, a different type of ‘modernity’ was established in the region. K-Pop was developed by this new East Asian modernity, but it has been influencing East Asian audiences vice versa. In spite of the limitations, as pan-East Asian culture which has not existed before, K-Pop is now constructing new East Asian identity not only among regional audiences but also among ethnic East Asian in the rest of the world.