Interrogating Cinema, TV, Music and Online Games
Introduction to Part I
South Korea’s democratic liberalism is posited as the opposite to the autocratic and despotic regime of DPRK, with Kim Jong-un represented as a figure of fun and fear in the West. It is no surprise that North Korean villains have superseded Russian ones in US action films. From Hallyu to Hallyu 2.0, South Korean culture has cemented its global position, with South Korean film on the festival circuit, K-pop dominating YouTube and winning international accolades, K-drama inviting the contemplation of South Korea as a place of tradition, exoticism, multiculturalism and modernity, whilst also leading the online gaming market.
Tied to discourses of nationalism, South Korea’s cultural product evokes a masculinist cultural image of homogeneity and heterosexuality. However, all this part’s chapters raise important debates surrounding marginality tied to ethnicity, sexuality or gender and depict long-standing fractures within the construction of national identity. By so doing, local boundaries and borders are redefined. The ‘South’ in this section is diverse, multicultural and vibrant, as demonstrated by the focus on the voices of those on society’s margins, which are part of the cultural tapestry of South Korea but are silenced in representation and reality. The first chapter by Jacob Ki Nielsen explores interracial and intergenerational fraternity, situating it within a wider trend for dramas about multicultural family reconstruction, focusing on male bonding across marginalised mixed race ethnic identities and highlighting ideological frictions and hierarchies embedded in a new multicultural Korea. Here Buddhist ontology, situated against Christianity as a feminine...
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