Creative Industries and Industrial Policy in Korea and Southeast Asia

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This is the paper that I will present at the Bangkok University Communication Arts International Conference Creative Industries in Asia: Innovating Within Constraints 1-2 July 2016, Bangkok, Thailand. More details here.

Creative Industries and Industrial Policy in Korea and Southeast Asia

Abstract

One of the most important means by which the Republic of Korea (ROK) was able to escape from the Middle Income Trap was through the creation and implementation of the Hallyu, which was a wave of inter-related forms of cultural production supported and promoted by government. Hallyu was successful, at least in part, because of the freedom of expression won by the Korean people in the struggle for democracy. Its various forms, including popular music, television, dance, food, cosmetics and other consumer goods can be complementary in nature and were supported by various incentives, subsidies and other forms of industrial policy. Some of these policies have been recreated for application in other countries of East and Southeast Asia, while others have yet to be evaluated or adopted. In other cases, policies have been employed which have actively constrained creativity, sometimes for justifiable state-level reasons and sometimes not. This paper outlines the different forms of industrial policy that have been employed to affect creative industries, inspired by the Korean example and using Southeast Asia as the primary area of investigation. Implications are drawn from the analysis as to which kinds of policies are likely to be successful in which kinds of policy regimes and political systems. Social, cultural and religious constraints to the expression of the creative industries in the region are also discussed and possibilities of change considered.

Keywords: creative industries, hallyu, industrial policy, Korea, Southeast Asia

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