K-Pop Idol Boy Bands and Manufactured Versatile Masculinity: Making Chogukjeok Boys
This chapter examines some of the most recent developments in South Korean popular culture using the example of idol boy bands and their manufactured versatile masculinity. It argues that, in addition to mugukjeok or the effort to make South Korean stars Asianized and/or globalized and to play down their Korean specificity, another characteristic is increasingly demanding of attention. This is chogukjeok (cross- or trans-national[ity]), or the tendency to retain national specificity while deploying it as part of a transborder and multinational cultural figuration. The dynamic transcultural flows of South Korean idol boy bands exemplifying versatile masculinity shows how well-planned, carefully manufactured, and culturally hybridized chogukjeok popular products meet the complex desires of global mass pop-consumers. Although almost unimaginable as recently as five years ago, it now appears a distinct possibility that, in the near future, a family in the US may have their dinner on Saturday night while watching an “idol real variety show” on Fox, featuring chogukjeok K-pop idol boys.
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