Intimate Labor, Gendered Fandom, and Media Industry in the Transnational Circulation of Korean Popular Music

Stephanie Choi
UC Santa Barbara

This dissertation is an ethnography of how K-pop (South Korean popular music) culture has become a global phenomenon through singers’ intimate labors, fans’ free labor, the industry’s pursue of Korean ethos and transnational appeal. By exploring the relationship between female fans and male singers through the gendered practice of “fan service”—a type of musical and/or non-musical performance that cultivates intimacy in the para-social relationship between the singers and fans—the study provides a useful lens into the various modes of mediated behaviors and social relations generated in the global media circulation.