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Reshaped, reconnected and redefined: Media portrayals of Korean pop idol fandom in Korea

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This article examines how Korean pop (K-pop) idol fans develop their public image through the construction of participatory culture. K-pop idol fans, mostly teenaged girls, have long-provoked criticism in Korean society due to their fanatic behaviours. In the late 2000s, however, the transnational popularity of K-pop idol groups encouraged the public to reconsider the negative stereotype of K-pop idol fandom. This social atmosphere is indebted to news journalism, which sheds light on the contribution of fan communities in the K-pop music industry. Donation activities are one of the main items that journalists focus on in covering idol fan communities. Through an analysis of news articles, this article argues that Korean idol fandom strategically employs donation activities in order to reshape stereotypes about idol fandom, reconnect with the public and redefine the notion of idol fandom in Korean society.

Keywords: K-pop idol fandom; Korean pop; donation activities; journalism; participatory culture; stereotypes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Temple University

Publication date: March 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • The multi – disciplinary nature of fan studies makes the development of a community of scholars sometimes difficult to achieve. The Journal of Fandom Studies seeks to offer scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship into the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media. It focuses on the critical exploration, within a wide range of disciplines and fan cultures, of issues surrounding production and consumption of popular media (including film, music, television, sports and gaming), The journal aims to address key issues in fans studies itself, while also fostering new areas of enquiry that take us beyond the bounds of current scholarship.
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