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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

“You Can’t Help But Love Them”: BTS, Transcultural Fandom, and Affective Identities

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2020, v.60 no.1, pp.100-127
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2020.60.1.100
Courtney McLAREN (Simon Fraser University)
(Simon Fraser Univ.)

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Abstract

The global popularity of the Korean K-pop group BTS, backed by its devoted fanbase ARMY, continues to raise questions surrounding transnational and transcultural flows of hybridized popular cultures in an era of new media technologies. Drawing on theories of transcultural fandom, this article examines BTS within, and as a product of, these hybridized transcultural flows of content and identity. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, the popularity of BTS is explored in the context of fans’ social media use and in their identification with BTS through the group’s online content, music, and image of authenticity. The use of social media is significant not only in terms of access to BTS content but to fannish practices of consuming such content. Flows of meaning and affect between BTS and fans are also mediated through social media, suggesting that hybridized popular culture is circulated not only through transnational flows of content but also transcultural constructions of affective investment and identity.

keywords
BTS K-pop ARMY transculturalism transcultural fandom social media

Korea Journal