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Title:Spectacularizing the homosexual body: the secret rendezvous among global gay media, local straight women, and the media industry in South Korea
Author(s):Kwon, Jungmin
Director of Research:Ono, Kent A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ono, Kent A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):McCarthy, Cameron R.; Projansky, Sarah; Molina-Guzman, Isabel
Department / Program:Inst of Communications Rsch
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Young Korean women
gay men
slash fiction
same-sex film
queer film
Korean media industry
Abstract:This dissertation explores the relationship among global gay media, local straight women, and the media industry in relation to the current popularity of gay popular culture in South Korea. While the homosexual body in Korea is currently pervasive in popular media, negative attitudes toward homosexuals are also common. Despite media attention to this discrepancy between the appearance and reality of gay visibility in popular culture, there has been little scholarly interest to date. I seek to provide a fundamental explanation of the popularity of same-sex themed films in Korea, whilst exploring and delineating relationships among the transnational flow of cultural artifacts (gay mediated texts), local audiences (young Korean women), and the local media industry (Korean film corporations), the result being the spectacularization of the homosexual body. The popular visual cultures of homosexuality are eagerly consumed by young women, but the lives of gay people remain largely unknown. In the first chapter of my dissertation, I historicize the consumption of global gay media by young women, predominantly from Japan and the United States, and the production of their own online/offline gay texts, such as Yaoi or fanfic. In the second chapter, I examine the current status of women in Korean society as they enter their 20s and 30s and become increasingly influential in the public sphere, both as citizens and consumers. In the third chapter, I investigate the processes by which globalized media corporations commercially co-opt gay culture for consumption by young women. In the fourth chapter, I analyze an assemblage of gay film images and narratives, reflecting on the marketing strategies employed by producers of same-sex content to illustrate the issues underlying representations of the homosexual body. Each chapter includes interviews conducted with fanfic writers/readers, young women, producers and marketers of same-sex cultural texts, and Korean male homosexuals. I hope to make a strong academic contribution in several areas. First, my work revisits the relationship between the global and the local. Second, through actually meeting with and listening to them, I explore the positioning of postfeminist women as global prosumers in a neoliberal age. Third, my research examines youth digital subculture and the cultural industry in the digital era by exploring the commercialization of young people’s exploitation of digital media technology. Finally, this dissertation contributes to providing an opportunity for Korean homosexuals to voice concerns about their visibility.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Jungmin Kwon
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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