Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library

K-Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Korea

John Lie
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Pages: 248
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    K-Pop: Popular Music, Cultural Amnesia, and Economic Innovation in South Koreaseeks at once to describe and explain the emergence of export-oriented South Korean popular music and to make sense of larger South Korean economic and cultural transformations. John Lie provides not only a history of South Korean popular music-the premodern background, Japanese colonial influence, post-Liberation American impact, and recent globalization-but also a description of K-pop as a system of economic innovation and cultural production. In doing so, he delves into the broader background of South Korea in this wonderfully informed history and analysis of a pop culture phenomenon sweeping the globe.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95894-4
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
    (pp. 1-6)

    In the spring of 2012, a sabbatical year that I was spending primarily in Paris, I found myself on a long trudge through a windswept Berlin suburb, with pedestrians few and far between and my sense of solitude accentuated by the unusually cold, dark day. I sought respite in a Vietnamese restaurant—empty, I saw upon entering—and ordered. As I began to eat, the young waitress continually eyed me, her only customer. After a few minutes, she reapproached my table and started firing questions at me. The point of this battery was to ascertain my national origins.

    Reticent though...

  4. ONE How Did We Get Here?
    (pp. 7-65)

    When i was fourteen, after a long absence from South Korea, I spent the summer in Seoul. It was 1974. Soon enough, I was bored out of my mind—I had rapidly read the books I had brought with me, and there wasn’t much of interest on television or in movie theaters.¹ My maternal uncle took pity on me. He shepherded me through the hot spots of Myŏng-dong, at that time easily the most fashionable district in the country, the Gangnam of its day, when Gangnam itself was largely a swamp. But Myŏng-dong’s narrow streets hardly screamed fashion or sophistication....

  5. Interlude
    (pp. 66-95)

    Several years ago, an eminent social scientist arrived in blackhanbok(Korean clothing) for a lecture I was delivering in Seoul. Because it is so rare now to clothe oneself inhanbok, I asked her why she was dressed up. She said that she had just come from a funeral.

    Baffled, I asked her, “Since when do Koreans wear black to a funeral?” Not only have people living on the Korean peninsula worn white at funeral ceremonies for as long as we can make out, the choice of white for funerals is also common across Asia.¹ In any case, black...

  6. TWO Seoul Calling
    (pp. 96-155)

    What is k-pop? for many people, it is simply South Korean popular music.¹ As a result,yuhaenggafrom the colonial period and trot songs from the era of military dictatorship have been retroactively ensconced in a category that emerged only in the early 2000s.² Most South Koreans will readily agree that it may be unreasonable to extend the boundaries of K-pop to include, among other twentieth-century Korean musical genres,ch’anggŭkandch’angga, or to include theyuhaenggamaestro Nam In-su and the trot diva Yi Mi-ja. But what about the trot singer Chang Yun-jŏng, who performs like a K-pop star?...

  7. Postlude
    (pp. 156-162)

    “Gangnam style” was the global pop sensation of 2012.¹ It registered more than a billion hits on YouTube and became the most-watched music video in that medium’s short but star-studded history. Psy’s signature dance moves could be seen everywhere. In an oncology ward near Oxford, England, a seventy-eight-year-old British woman addled by morphine exclaimed, “That’s … that’s … ‘Gangnam Style’!” every time she encountered a screen, whether it was attached to a CT scanner or belonged to a television set broadcastingCoronation Street.² From “Obama Style” to “Mitt Romney Style,” the sheer number of imitations and parodies bespoke the omnipresence...

  8. Coda
    (pp. 163-164)

    Daniel barenboim remarks, “the beginning of a concert is more privileged than the beginning of a book. One could say that sound itself is more privileged than words”; whereas words are bound up in everyday life, music and sound are “ambivalent,” since they are “both inside and outside the world.”¹ Transposing across genres is surely more challenging than translating between languages, which is an almost impossible enterprise, and certainly so when pondered philosophically, though the existence of concrete triumphs, like the existence of secular miracles, tempers the temptation to issue an interdiction.² Readers are perforce judges; gnawing criticisms seem much...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 165-224)
    (pp. 225-228)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 229-242)