Oppa has no style: On K-pop, the culture industry, and the illusion of style

Oppa has no style: On K-pop, the culture industry, and the illusion of style


ABSTRACT

The growth of the Korean wave through the popularity of Korean pop music demonstrates how, despite the language barrier, a media product from the “periphery” has the ability to penetrate the domination of the “center.” However, the question of its distinction from the “center,” remains to be seen, especially if it admittedly seeks to embody a “global” style.

This study used the critical discourse analysis in viewing Korean pop title songs, and their accompanying music videos, produced by one of Korea’s biggest entertainment companies, SM Entertainment. Using the culture industry thesis by Adorno and Horkheimer as well as Adorno’s selected essays on pop music, this study identified how the visual and aural aspect of the selected text, and the ideologies associated with it, appropriated elements from the more globally famous Western pop, and exhibited standardization of content. The study sought to identify and analyze how economic and political forces interfacing with one another inform the creation of content. It explored how SM Entertainment, in particular, operates a capital centered production, geared towards maximizing profits not only within its local music market but also in the global stage. This study also outlined how the Korean government took on a neoliberal approach in supporting the growth of its creative industries.

Finally, this study asserts that it may not be Western or Korean culture or standards that inform the production of content, but that of the culture of capital.

Keywords: K-pop, Westernization, globalization, neoliberalism, capital, culture of capital

Sablayan, K. (2013). Oppa has no style: On K-pop, the culture industry, and the illusion of style. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines, College of Mass Communication.

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