My abstract (the title is as above and indeed below) has been accepted for a forthcoming book project to be edited by Professor Yasue Kuwahara from Northern Kentucky University. Next step will be to research and write the chapter:
Hallyu as a Government Construct: The Korean Wave in the Context of Economic and Social Development
The rapid industrialization and modernization of Korea from the 1960s witnessed important, intricate and constantly changing relationships between the private and public sectors. Initially, the relationship was punitive in nature, although that changed as the market power of private sector firms – chaebol, principally – enabled them to escape from the clutches of the government. However, the Korean government has continued to work hard and mostly perspicaciously to continue to propel economic development in terms of both aggregate GDP growth and in enhancing the sophistication of production, the value added to goods and services and the increases in creativity and innovation. This was seen in the development of the online computer games industry, for example, which built upon existing strengths in education and the animation industry and developed them through extensive provision of government services and the agencies to administer them. This also included affecting public sentiment in a culturally-sensitive context by creating a competitive league for players of computer games and turning games-playing into a respectable potential career. The Korean Wave or Hallyu phenomenon is a further example of the involvement of the public sector in affecting economic and societal change in the country with a view to further elaboration of economic development. This had involved various methods of promoting the creative industry and fostering an atmosphere in which the talent involved performs on and off-stage in a wholesome manner and as definite representatives of Korea and Korean society: by doing this, the industry has been able to take advantage of multiplier effects integrating popular music not just with other creative industries (e.g. television, journalism) but also with tourism and the kind of soft power that is associated with the furthering of a variety of diplomatic and commercial objectives. This paper traces the development of the Korean Wave phenomenon against the background of the Korean government’s involvement with the private sector and its vision for future economic development. It contrasts the creativity of the Korean talent involved with the state-level developmental goals that it has become used to promote.
John Walsh, Shinawatra University, September 2012