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12 - K-Pop and the Participatory Condition

Vicarity, Serial Affect, and “Real-Life Contents”

from Part VI - Circuits of K-Pop Flow

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2023

Suk-Young Kim
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

This chapter surveys various forms of identification with and consumption of K-pop idol celebrity and youth culture, from reactions on video logs to K-pop music videos, to theorize the particular forms of vicarious experience that bind K-pop idols to their fans and fans to each other. Vicarity relies on the ubiquitous reflexivity that defines social media platforms as sites of subject formation via media production and consumption. Social media participation constitutes an immersive, everyday form of meta-media, by which vicarious substitution through the consumption of vlogs/reactions induces acutely affective experiences of identification. Vicarious media seem to suggest a proxy for politics as an expression of collective sentiment – the ways in which media platforms bridge the private and the public through the increasingly complex arena of the social. Yet traditional modes of political organizing, remain recognizable in the activities of fan collectives. This chapter thus articulates how K-pop sheds light on the contradictory impulses for intense individuation – through the atomized personas overdetermined by social media and the vlog form – and the corresponding longing for ideals of collective agency and community that we see across multiple nodes of media consumption.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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