K-Pop, K-Dramas and the Mobility across Asias

Dr JaeYoon Park1

1University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, United States

The rise of K-Pop and K-Dramas shows no signs of stopping as both the popular press and scholarly publications have recently observed. Teen Vogue, in particular, has celebrated a “K-Pop Week” in late October while noting “[e]ver since the early ’90s, K-pop has been slowly refined into nothing less than an art form, and it’s become an influential powerhouse over the years” (Vincent, 2019). In the late 1990s, the Korean Wave (also known as hallyu) began crossing national borders, and with the proliferation of global new media, Korean television series (K-Dramas) have quickly become a popular phenomenon producing the greatest commitment from the largest number of transnational viewers in the region (Park, 2019). This research analyzes social mobility stories of hallyu fans in the context of the burgeoning digital technology and social media across “Asias.” Drawing on Ginsburg and sociological discussions, the presentation will focus on the ways in which these fans’ lives comprise social, political, and cultural transformations, especially in the diasporic communities in Australia and North America. A special attention will be paid to the complexity of class and gender in relation to the formation of new, urban, postindustrial, Asian identities.


JaeYoon Park is an assistant professor of media communication at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith. She has published articles in “Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media” and “Americana: The Journal of American Popular Culture” and also served as a principal editor of the book, “The Rise of K-Dramas.”


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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