Global fetishism : dynamics of transnational performances in contemporary South Korea

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Title: Global fetishism : dynamics of transnational performances in contemporary South Korea
Author: Lee, Hyunjung, 1977-
Abstract: Using South Korea's transnational performances as a case -study , this dissertation examines the cultural implications of the much -celebrated Korean model of national development . Starting with two contemporary South Korean performances - -The Last Empress , the Musical (1995 ) , and Nanta [Cookin'] (1997 ) , a nonverbal performance - -I explore how the producers' commitments to South Korea's cultural development are manifested in these productions . Situating these performances within the South Korean social context of the mid -1990s , I explore how the reinvention of Korean traditional cultures represents both national capacity and responds to calls for globalism without losing Korean identity . In the first chapter , my analysis of The Last Empress illustrates how local desire for global success resulted in a perpetuation of a Broadway -style musical in a Korean mode . I argue that , while the play utilizes its female character's pioneering image to claim a place for the musical in the global era , it simultaneously pulls her back into the traditional domain . With Nanta [Cookin'] in the following chapter , I argue that the production's commercial accomplishment lies in its strategic blending of pan -Asian cultural elements and the use of food without language which well co -operated with the burgeoning cultural tourism industry in South Korea . Extending my argument further , I conclude with an analysis of global -national interplay as they were played out at the 2002 Korea -Japan World Cup . As a way of understanding the nationalistic fervor during the event , I suggest that the mass festive rally functions as a "social performance ." In these performances , Korean nationalism , conjoined with global desire , was reconfigured through spontaneous gatherings , styles , fashions , expressions , and gestures . Like its theatrical counterparts , the World Cup rally insists on Korean -ness as what qualifies South Korea to be a global player . I conclude by offering the concept , "global fetishism ," to explicate the complex and even contradictory assimilation of the national into the global in these performances . They are showcases for how globalization taps into the local rhetoric of development , charged by South Korea's inherent nationalism . If for South Korea "global" is synonymous with glamorous cultural success , in each context it is precisely the return to the local which permits global fetishism .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3877
Date: 2008-08-29


Global fetishism : dynamics of transnational performances in contemporary South Korea. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3877 .

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