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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.25 No.3 pp.199-229

Mobilizing K-pop in interethnic relationship and interaction : A case of study abroad students

In Chull Jang
University of Toronto


This paper attempts to engage in the body of Hallyu research through a sociolinguistic lens. As a case of analysis, it explores the ways in which the Korean Wave shapes the process of relationship building between South Korean and other ethnic students during their overseas stay. Drawing data from an ethnographic fieldwork of international language learners studying English abroad, the paper reports that, with the global popularity of Hallyu, K-pop serves as an interactional resource in intercultural communication. In particular, Korean students find that it helps them to build friendships with Latin American students, whom they perceive as culturally distinctive interlocutors. The following analysis of interactions between one Brazilian and two Korean male students in a leisurely activity shows that the Korean students are positioned as authentic bearers of K-pop culture in social interactions. In addition, the international students share evaluations of K-pop stars and songs, and stage performances of singing and dancing together, thus leading to jocular and light-hearted atmospheres. However, it suggests that as their K-pop talks involve gendered images and representations of female idol stars, their interactions lead to reproducing “sexy” and “cute” images of K-pop femininity.





  1. Journal Abbreviation : j. Korea Saf. Manag. Sci.
    Frequency : Published three times annually in April, August and December, including an international issue
    Doi Prefix : 10.14353/sjk.
    Year of Launching : 2013
    Publisher :
    The Sociolinguistic Society of Korea
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