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Korean Dreams and K-pop Realities: Towards a typology of Danish Hallyu fans
Korean Dreams and K-pop Realities: Towards a typology of Danish Hallyu fans examines the advent of Danish youth, who, in varying degrees of intensity and by dissimilar means, identify with and belong to the loose cultural geography of Korea and East Asia. They aspire to integrate into the Korean social fabric through career choice, and produce K-pop realities by performing Korean dance, conforming to Korean aesthetics or beauty ideals, thinking through Korean story-worlds, and finding viable alternatives to Danish youth sociality. The analysis is based on on- off-line field-study conducted in 2014-6 and qualitative interviews with a main focus on nine predominantly early 20s female Danish fans of Korean popular culture. Departing from Koichi Iwabuchi’s notion of ‘inter-Asian mediated referencing’, the study shows how the mediated encounter through the consumption of in particular popular music but also various screen formats offers Danish fans a wider repertoire for reflecting on their own lives and societies in the light of East Asian modernities. In short, I argue that by examining Danish productive fans and their K-pop reality as trans-Asian mediated referencing we may find ways to go further beyond the conception of “Asia” as a region.