South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang, popularly known as ‘Psy,’ performs ‘Gangnam Style.’ Keith Howard, an ethnomusicologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the U.K., writes: “Its performance…can best be analyzed in terms of a potentialized mimetic power, as a kind of reverse Saidian Orientalism.” From “Politics, Parodies, and the Paradox of Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’” (2015). Agence France-Presse/Getty Images …
SEOUL—Academic minds around the world are tackling some tough new questions about South Korea:
—Why do Korean soap opera plotlines seem to defy the basic principles of microeconomic theory?
—What can we learn about the reinterpretation of locality in Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video?
—Are Korea’s girl groups more popular because their members are, on average, 10 centimeters, or about 3.9 inches, taller than their Japanese counterparts?
These are some of the topics consuming a small but fast-growing pocket of the academic world focused on Korean pop culture, which has emerged as a phenomenon in parts of the world.
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