Oh Snap! Visual Culture
iFans: K-pop's Global Fandom
Without the benefit of mainstream media coverage, K-pop has gained a small but significant following in a variety of locations outside of Korea, including countries in East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America. Such fans are iFans in two ways: they are international fans who use the Internet as part of their fan practice.
These case studies explore the attitudes and activities of the global online fan communities of 12 K-pop groups of varying sizes and makeups who have established global fanbases that are active on the Internet. Using cultural studies and qualitative methods to curate websites and examine survey results, these case studies reveal the complex dynamics at play in K-pop fandom. On one hand, K-pop fan communities exhibit a variety of attitudes and activities. Fan communities that support the same group may hold different attitudes and engage in different kinds of fan activities. The fan communities for each K-pop group in the case study differ from each other, in part because they reflect the individual persona of the group. At the same time, K-pop fan communities of the 12 selected K-pop groups share a discourse of support that encourages respect for other fandoms and supports K-pop overall.
These groups are:
2NE1 | BigBang | f(x) | Girls' Generation (SNSD) | MBLAQ | SHINee |Shinhwa | SS501 | Super Junior | TVXQ | Aziatix | Epik High