The Culture of Global Capitalism: A Case of Korean Wave

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.B.06 (Clement House)
Jonghoe Yang, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea
As suggested by Max Weber, Daniel Bell, Peter Berger and other social scientists, capitalism has a complex relationship with culture, one influencing the other, mutually shaping, or developing contradictory directions. In this paper I try to show how global capitalism may shape global culture, or more precisely global cultural scene, by analyzing the unfolding of Korean Wave for the past two decades. Korean Wave refers to the flow of Korean popular culture across national borders. Beginning from late 1990s, Korean TV dramas first, and then Korean pop songs, have become popular among East Asian audiences, then among audiences in Southeast Asian countries and in others beyond Asia. Korean wave is a product of special coupling of global capitalism, hybrid culture and advancement of information and communication technology. The flow of Korea Wave worldwide has important implications for global culture: popular culture becomes a major industry; emerging global culture is most likely hybrid culture; a global cultural omnivore class may rise; global culture is mainly digital culture; audiences of cultural contents are not passive receivers, but active prosumers.