Korean Wave

The South Korean popular music industry offers an excellent example of glocalization. Beginning in the 1990s, South Korean companies made the strategy the centerpiece of their efforts to create an export-driven culture industry.

As our study will demonstrate, the success of this strategy has changed the local (South Korean) culture even more than it has the cultures of the many other countries that now dance to South Korean beats.


After completing this assignment, students should be able to

  • List the countries in which the Korean Wave has proven particularly popular
  • Summarize the different meanings of hybridity, glocalization, and indigenization
  • Identify whether the Korean Wave represents glocalization or indigenization, and explain why
  • Recognize and summarize the historical trends and events that led to the Korean Wave
  • Recognize and explain the meaning of the “Learning from Hollywood” slogan
  • Recognize and explain the meaning of the “1.5 million Hyundais” anecdote
  • Recognize and explain the importance of the band Seo Taiji and the Boys
  • Summarize the  meanings of North ↔ South vs. South ↔ South trade and recent changes in the patterns of world trade
  • Summarize the meaning of “media liberalization” and recognize new examples of it
  • Summarize the meaning of “cultural proximity,” recognize new examples, and offer an example of it
  • Explain why “cultural proximity” is a poor explanation for the popularity of the Korean Wave


Study Guide

Note that this guide is not meant to replace careful study of the entire assigned reading. Instead, this guide highlights some of the important ideas and information in the texts. To do well on our tests, quizzes, and class discussions, you will need a thorough knowledge of the entire reading.

Shim uses the term “hybridity” in her title, but unfortunately this term has been used so often and so loosely that its meaning has become fuzzy. In our class, “hybridity” should be understood as an umbrella term.

  • Hybridity
    • Glocalization
    • Indigenization

Cultural hybridity results both from corporate-driven processes like those described by Shim, and also from the grassroots processes that we have discussed previously. In other words,  glocalization and indigenization both produce cultural hybrids.


  • Korean Wave –  Shim