Popular music and Korean learning: K-pop in Australia

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


The Australian Diversity Council’s 2015 report Leading in the Asian Century: a national scorecard of Australia’s Workforce Asia Capability discloses that lack of diversity is a liability for the Australian workforce, particularly in terms its capability of to engage with Asia. While the importance of strong economic and diplomatic links between Australia and Asia is widely agreed on, this is at odds with hegemonic popular culture. The proliferation of media content providers in the digital age, however, allows audiences to seek out popular media outside mainstream and broadcast outlets. The small but established popularity of Korean popular culture (hallyu) and music in the West is a phenomenon that has been enabled by YouTube, music streaming, and file-sharing. Crucially, this allows audiences to explore popular culture beyond the Anglosphere. Alongside K-pop, parallel industries have emerged in tourism, consumer goods, and language education; the latter has seen significant growth, with Korean language courses and institutes (such as the Sejong Institute) capitalising on K-pop’s trendiness. This research project explores the K-pop audience in Sydney, and in particular, how interest in it affects perspectives and behaviours beyond music, including its potential to develop intercultural literacy. It finds that K-pop provides an access point for audiences to increase their knowledge of Korean and East Asian culture as well as the Korean language, stimulating interest and engagement with Asia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Sydney
EditorsAlice Chik, Phil Benson, Robyn Moloney
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351215541
ISBN (Print)9780815379546, 9781138592667
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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