Move over Hollywood

Growing up in a non western country I was still exposed to a lot of western/Hollywood media production. I grew up watching shows like Tom and Jerry, That’s So Raven and Lizzie Mcguire. Western media was everywhere and for awhile that was the most prominent culture I was aware of as it was the most dominant. Then in high school I had friends telling me about this Korean drama called ‘Boys over Flowers’. A large majority of the students in my high school could mimic the dance moves from the music video Sorry, Sorry which was a popular song by a Korean boy band called SuperJunior. It was at this point where the Korean media industry was gaining much more popularity internationally.

News media and trade magazines have recognized the rise of Korean popular culture in Asia by dubbing it the ‘Korean wave’ Hallyu or Hanryu in Korean (Shim 2006). Also supporting the South Korean film industry has been active government controls against copying and piracy, which have allowed the film industry to produce many films and assure their overall profitability given very strong DVD and aftermarket sales (Ryoo 2009). Korean drama, movies and music became such a big hit in Asia, from China to Taiwan, Japan, Phillipines, Malaysia and many more. Soon the Korean waved moved to the United States when a Korean all-girl group girls generation was brought to perform on the David Lettermen show.

This Korean wave brought around a whole different set of cultural values and practices into the international arena. The style and tune was very different to the kind of media Hollywood produces especially when it comes to their music industry. You can watch this video that shows western youtubers reaction and thoughts on K-pop music videos. 

It’s not just in style that things differ in, the way these two industry’s run are different as well. While Hollywood productions in music have a more individualistic approach, K-pop has a more universal similar style and tone for all it’s artists, record labels choose and mould people they think are fit to be Korean pop stars. Check out this article by Christine Choi that describes the difference between Hollywood and K-pop.

The Korean wave is a huge indication of how cultural flows are transformed in the global arena (Ryoo 2009). For awhile Hollywood had a bigger control over films that were exported internationally. face1The most prominent culture in other countries was Western culture. Now we can see a much more diverse sense of cultural hybridity. Transnational popular culture engenders a creative form of hybridization working towards re-imagining regional identities through the reciprocal cultural exchanges in the global/local context (Ryoo 2009).  Essentially, the entertainment industry is a great way to establish local culture but still have elements that appeal to a wider more international audience. This in turn produces a better avenue for the intertwine of culture.

It’s not only Korean media that is gaining more attention, other industries such as Bollywood and Nollywood have been emerging and generating a fair amount of international audience. It would be great if more countries develop their entertainment industry to reach an international platform especially as our world in getting more interwoven and it would help a great deal in increasing cultural flows.

References

Ryoo, W. (2009). Globalization, or the logic of cultural hybridization: the case of the Korean wave. Asian Journal of Communication19(2), 137-151.

Shim, D, 2006, Hybridity and the rise of korean pop culture in Asia, Sage publications, viewed 4 September 2015 <http://www2.fiu.edu/~surisc/Hybridity%20and%20the%20rise%20of%20Korean%20popular%20culture%20in%20Asia.pdf&gt;

Yecies, B, Parleying Culture against Trade: Hollywood’s Affairs with Korea’s Screen Quotas, Korea Observer, 38(1), Spring 2007, 1-32. Published by the Institute of Korean Studies, Seoul.

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Changing the World One Tweet at a Time

In the 21st century, our world has become so vastly interconnected and interdependent. A person from South Korea has access to watching the same video as someone from Ireland. A person in Australia would know what was going on in Saudi Arabia politics. A person in Malaysia would be able to buy and ship products sold in America. Borders and boundaries between countries slowly started to become absent. Like everything else that’s come about, there are many sides and a spectrum of outcomes, good and bad. One thing that’s particularly interesting, is how globalisation has shaped the rise of social justice.

(Source: DailyMail UK)

(Source: DailyMail UK)

What I find fascinating, is how media has a huge impact towards social justice issues. Social media is the biggest medium when it comes to boundary breaking in our era. Nowadays, television news broadcasts and newspapers all have international news section. When Kate Middleton was pregnant with her second child everyone around the globe knew about it, and we had people from many different countries outside the UK giving suggestions on baby names.

This type of information spread can be seen in more serious occasions as well like The Occupy Movement and the hashtag #blacklivesmatter that was to call out on racial discrimination from the police force in America. What really makes a difference in social movement in our globalised world though, is the use of social media. All these tweets and posts and videos online come from many different people, which attract many different audiences. This makes the spreading of this news a lot more personal. In ‘Creating the collective: social media, the Occupy Movement and its constitution as a collective actor’ the author makes note that on social media, it’s more like having a conversation with a lot of people.

tahrir-square-arab-springSocial media lets you have that conversation with so many people, this fosters a better, much more personal connection and that’s when people realise they’re not the only one trying to fight for something. It also gives people hope when there are people from all over the world supporting your cause or supporting a social movement which helps you. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest checking out this documentary called “How Facebook changed the World” which basically dissects how exactly the Arab Spring came about and social media’s role in it. It’s fascinating because you will notice that one nation helped another start a revolution against their dictatorial government. How amazing is that! We are at a point where we have the opportunity to help an entire nation just by the spread of information. Based on a concept introduce by Arjun Appadurai, this would be called ideoscapes.

Gaza ProtestsSocial media has made it so easy to spread ideologies and start movements all around the globe. When the the situation in Gaza was made more well known, protests happened all over the world from Austalia to the UK and many other countries.

I think globalisation can be a very good thing for social justice, especially due to the instant spread of information. Of course like everything else in the world, politics, socio-economics and many other factors will come into play when it comes to dissecting and doing something about the information we receive. However, the very fact that there is a platform and an opportunity to get information out makes a pretty big difference and hopefully we can use this as a catalyst for change.

References 

Appadurai, A 1996, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Economy,’ Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization’, Minneapolis and London: University of Minesota Press, pp. 27-47

Kavada, A 2015, ‘Creating the collective: social media, the Occupy Movement and its constitution as a collective actor’, Information, Communication & Society, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 872-886.