K-pop fandom in Australia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Korean pop culture (Hallyu), including music (K-pop), television dramas (K-dramas), and films, has recently gained a significant — though not yet mainstream — following in Australia. This study asks: why are Australian fans drawn to Korean pop music? Drawing on participant interviews, it takes into account Australia’s multicultural demographics, its media landscape and dominant culture, and participatory fandom. With more than one-quarter of its residents born overseas, and almost half of its residents with one or both parents born overseas, Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Yet Australia’s dominant popular culture is overwhelmingly Anglophone, influenced by the USA and UK. In the last decade, the proliferation of online media has allowed young Australians — particularly those from non-Anglo backgrounds — to seek out alternative pop culture spheres. Hallyu is part of mainstream popular culture in many parts of Asia, and so the considerable Asian diaspora in Australia provides an existing fanbase for Korean pop culture. However, this ‘ethnic’ rationalisation is not complete as many fans are not of Asian cultural background; their participation in K-pop fandom may be interpreted as an outcome of a pluralistic, multicultural society, and/or as a turning away from Australian popular culture. The participatory nature of K-pop, centred around online forums, cover dances, cover songs, and memes, also allows Australian fans to reinforce their identities by actively participate at the local, national, or global level. Considering K-pop fandom in Australia therefore brings into focus a range of areas; the need for Australian mainstream media to represent the diversity of contemporary Australia, the role of popular culture in promoting intercultural understanding, and how online technologies create transcultural communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian fans
Subtitle of host publicationuniquely placed in global popular culture
EditorsCelia Lam, Jackie Raphael
Place of PublicationIowa City
PublisherUniversity of Iowa Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781609386580
ISBN (Print)9781609386573
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameFandom and Culture
PublisherUniversity of Iowa Press


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