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Engaging with Korean dramas: discourses of gender, media, and class formation in Taiwan

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This paper attempts to explore the politics of differential engagements with Korean drama, particularly with relation to the formation of gender and class identities. As social identities are mediated through the cultural, discourse becomes a significant site for understanding the relationships between structures and the formation of subjectivities. The imported Korean drama falls mostly into two genres - trendy drama and family drama. Both of them deal with family and love, and both of them aim at women audiences. As such, discourses of femininity provide a productive avenue for understanding: on the one hand, their place in social formation, that is, how women inhabit different discourses of femininity which in turn position them hierarchically in the social domain; on the other hand, how social processes, including globalization and nation formation, play a central role in constituting the different meanings and hierarchy of discourses of femininity. However, discourses of femininity also intersect with discourses of television in structuring women's engagements with Korean drama. This paper therefore traces the transformations of the discourses of femininity and television and explores how they regulate, constrain, or enable women's engagements with Korean drama. In doing so, this paper aims to highlight the hierarchically structured gendered discourses in the process of social formation in contemporary Taiwan.

Keywords: Korean drama; class; cultural hierarchy; gender; reception studies

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01292980701823773

Affiliations: Department of English, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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