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Always Fans of Something: Fandom and Concealment of Taste in the Daily Lives of Young Koreans

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Lee, Eungchel

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Department of Anthropology, Seoul National University
Korean Anthropology Review, Vol.5 No., pp. 53-78
This article addresses fandom and deokjil (a word recently coined to indicate obsessive fan activity) among young Koreans. Rather than focusing on a particular genre, it comments on tendencies found in fandom as a whole. Most existing studies of fandom examine that of idols. While it is true that idol fandom is large in scale, well-organized, and accounts for a large proportion of all fandom in commercial terms, fandom and deokjil among young Koreans encompass a much broader area and wider variety of genres. For instance, in addition to multiple genres (comics, film, indie music, fiction, history, sport and computer games), fandom can also focus on specific members of a certain band. Young Koreans who grew up in tandem with the growth of the internet and media in South Korean society access media naturally and are used to fandom. Even if the objects of their preference changed as they grew up, fandom itself is an everyday activity for them. Though fandom differs a little according to genre, the consumption of cultural products is generally an important part of it. In addition to officially produced goods such as records and streamed tracks, the consumption of secondary creations is an important part of showing ones legitimacy as a fan. Fans use various media platforms to obtain information and materials and have recently made extensive use of Twitter. Fandom is a question of what one likes. But fans sometimes have to hide their fandom and pretend to be normal people. Idol fandom, for example, can be seen as trivial, while Japanese manga fandom can invite animosity. And female sports fans are thought to like athletes only for their good looks. Fans who do not want to be judged for their tastes when the latter are placed in this type of hierarchy try to hide them.
2508-8297 (Print)
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