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The Gangnam Style Phenomenon as a Global Manifestation of Hybridity

In: Asian International Studies Review
Authors: Hesu Yoon and Hans Schattle
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This article explores the parody videos generated around the world in response to the hit song Gangnam Style as a way of viewing the progression of cultural globalization and hybridity in this era of boundless digital communication. First we outline a framework of hybridity in relation to cultural globalization, with the Gangnam Style phenomenon as an exemplar of hybridization, filled with incongruous words and images that cut across supposedly binary categories and cultural norms. Then, drawing upon a content analysis of the original video and numerous parody videos, we illustrate how the interactive and multidirectional responses to Gangnam Style reveal ways in which bottom-up, user-generated cultural globalization can unfold in practice. The transnational public response to Gangnam Style is noteworthy, as it clearly revealed the potential of interactive platforms, such as YouTube, for creating and sharing online content in an extended virtual conversation across national borders.

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