Korean Wave| Between Hybridity and Hegemony in K-Pop’s Global Popularity: A Case of "Girls’ Generation’s" American Debut

Gooyong Kim


Examining the sociocultural implications of Korean popular music (K-pop) idol group Girls’ Generation’s (SNSD’s) debut on Late Show With David Letterman, this article discusses how the debut warrants a critical examination on K-pop’s global popularity. Investigating critically how the current literature on K-pop’s success focuses on cultural hybridity, this article maintains that SNSD’s debut clarifies how K-pop’s hybridity does not mean dialectical interactions between American form and Korean content. Furthermore, this article argues that cultural hegemony as a constitutive result of sociohistorical and politico-economic arrangements provides a better heuristic tool, and K-pop should be understood as a part of the hegemony of American pop and neoliberalism.



Korean popular music, cultural hybridity, cultural hegemony, neoliberalism

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