Asianization, Imagination, Fan Culture and Cultural Capital of Vietnamese Youth: A Case Study of K-pop Cover Dance Groups in Hanoi Vietnam

Phan Thanh Thanh

Abstract

This research explores the influence that economic integration, flows of capital and information, the media and popular culture - specifically Pop Dance Culture from South Korea - has led the changes in the identity of young Vietnamese people living in urban areas. The aim is to study the cultural phenomenon of a cohort of teenagers born in Hanoi after the economic reforms of the late twentieth century, and their practice of K-Pop dance covers using their bodies to convey their aspirations in terms of who they want to be in a post-Socialist society. K-Pop cover groups first sprang up in 2011 in Vietnam, after such groups won the international K-Pop dance cover contest. This contest utilizes social media to promote and disseminate Korean music culture, and young Vietnamese people have made use of it to form their own cover groups, and have used social internet sites such as You Tube and Facebook to display their hybrid identity and leverage their social status as middle class young people born after Doi Moi and living in urban areas, and in the capital city of Hanoi in particular. The target groups in this study are two K-Pop dance cover groups in Hanoi, each with members born in the 1980s and 1990s. The groups studied are, first, ‗YG Lovers Crew‘ (YGLC), who cover K-Pop dance acts belonging to YG Entertainment, a mostly hip hop focused label, and ‗St.319‘, who cover all the hit music videos from South Korea, and aim for a pop style. These groups were chosen for this study because of their fame in terms of performing K-Pop covers, of having a domestic and international fan base, due to the competition between them, and the strategies they use to move of the shadow of K-pop and create their own, new identities. Much of this research was based on face-to-face interviews with YGLC, St.319 and their fans, as well as the bands‘ videos. Social networking sites such as Facebook and You Tube, and online newspapers, were also important sources of information for this study.

Keywords

K-Pop cover dance groups; youth culture in Hanoi; Asianization

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