EVENT: 2/26 "K-Pop Fandom: Performing Materialization of Affective Labor"

K-Pop Fandom: Performing Materialization of Affective Labor

Talk by Dr. Areum Jeong

Monday February 26, 12:10 PM - 1:30 PM, Student Community Center Multipurpose Room


Fan practices have been central to the production of K-pop as a cultural and artistic phenomenon and behemoth global industry. While fans have by now been widely recognized as important to the spectacular phenomenon that is K-pop, we are far from a systemic understanding of fan practices as labor practices. Rather than framing fans primarily as consumers of K-pop, this talk explores how fan practices constitute a central productive force, shaping not only K-pop's explosive global popularity but also K-pop's cultural and social impacts and horizons of possibility, which includes its cultural politics. In particular, l argue that K-pop fans perform a kind of materialization of affective labor, which can be seen in diverse processes, from generalized, collective, and communal fan activities to de-centralized, individually specific labor that represents individual fan's personalities and performances of care. This study combines insights from ethnography, cultural studies, fan studies, media studies, and performance studies, while also drawing on my own research as a participant-observer and co-performer witness whenever I was able. This talk begins by showing how fandom practices have shifted over time, transforming a youth subculture into a global phenomenon, then brings to fore the integration of labor in studying performances of fandom, and discusses the ways that performing fan labor intersects with neoliberal capitalist structures but can also deviate or depart from the industry's norms and goals. In addition, this talk questions what it means for K-pop to become "mainstream" in the US.

ASA kpop talk flyer