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Howard, Keith (2015) 'Politics, Parodies, and the Paradox of Psy's 'Gangnam Style'.' Romanian Journal of Social Sciences, New Series, 1. pp. 13-29.

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In 2012, ‘Gangnam Style’ occasioned large flash mobs, three of the early ones taking place in Pasadena, Times Square in New York, and Sydney, Australia. Today, Psy, the singer of ‘Gangnam Style’, is regularly talked about as having brought K-pop to the world beyond East and Southeast Asia, and Korean tourism chiefs are actively planning a Korean Wave street in Gangnam, the district of Seoul lampooned by the song. But, ‘Gangnam Style’ has proved challenging to K-pop fans, who have resisted its gender stereotyping, its comic framing, and its simple dance moves that subsume the aesthetics of movement under a sequence of locations and action vignettes. At the same time, foreign success has given the song, and its singer, legitimacy in Korea — so much so that, despite lyrics and video images that critique modern urban life and caricature the misogynistic failures of its protagonist, Psy headlined the inauguration celebrations of Korea’s incoming president, Park Geun-hye, in February 2013. This paper explores the song, its reception and critique by fans and others, and notes how, in an ultimate paradox that reflects the age of social media and the individualization of consumerism, the parodies the song spawned across the globe enabled Koreans to celebrate its success while ignoring its message.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Gangnam Style, Psy, cover, parody, popular music, social media, YouTube
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Music
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
ISSN: 2284547X
Copyright Statement: This work is made available under the Creative Common License Attribution –NoDerives 4.0 International CC-BY-ND 4.0
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 14:25

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