Fan Entrepreneurship: Fandom, Agency, and the Marketing of Hallyu in Israel
While the overall majority of Hallyu research has looked at the way fans consume Korean popular culture and how it influences their identity, this paper focuses on the way these fans serve as effective agents for marketing Hallyu and how their fandom empowers them to explore new business and social opportunities. Focusing on what we call “fan entrepreneurship,” this paper examines the evolvement of fan communities in Israel and their role as cultural agents transcending different cultural and social contexts. More specifically, it analyzes their role as promoters, distributers, and entrepreneurs of Hallyu. To examine fan entrepreneurship in action, we focus on three cases of Israeli Hallyu fans who have ventured into new fields in business, education, and social activism to conceptualize the relations between fandom, agency, and the transnational marketing of Hallyu. Our findings suggest that the Hallyu experience in Israel may be relevant for understanding the grass-roots processes and mechanisms responsible for the spread and the institutionalization of cultural content across national, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries.