The Pursuit of Modernity: The Evolution of Korean Popular Music in the Age of Globalization
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This dissertation examines the various meanings of modernity in the history of Korean pop music, focusing on several crucial turning points in the development of K-pop. Since the late 1980s, Korean pop music has aspired to be a more advanced industry and establish an international presence, based on the economic leap and democratization as a springboard. Contemporary K-pop, originating from the underground dance scene in the 1980s, succeeded in transforming Korean pop music into a modern and youth-oriented genre with a new style dubbed "rap/dance music." The rise of dance music changed the landscape of Korean popular music and became the cornerstone of the K-pop idol music. In the era of globalization, K-pop’s unique aesthetics and strategy, later termed “Cultural Technology,” achieved substantial returns in the international market. Throughout this evolution, Korean Americans were vital players who brought K-pop closer to its mission of modern and international pop music. In the age of globalization, K-pop's modernity and identity are evolving in a new way. BTS' unprecedented success indicates that K-pop's modernity can be achieved through authentic narratives and Koreanness, not merely through cosmopolitan sounds and visual aesthetics that have eliminated nationality and locality.
- Music