Globalisation Gangnam-style: The domination of Gangnam-style in touristic online representations

Main Article Content

Friedericke Kuhn
Meia van der Zee

Abstract

This article presents cultural globalisation as a highly uneven and selective process, seeing that the exact nature of this “selectivity” of which cultural elements become globalised has not been intensively studied yet. In the case of online representations of places for the purpose of attracting tourists, certain place-schemata are selected to represent the destination and become globalised, while others are left behind. This study set out to analyze what global processes have allowed the Gangnam-style representation of the Gangnam district in Seoul to dominate its touristic online representation, while traditional heritage of the district which includes a UNESCO heritage site has become subsumed in terms of importance for representing the district online. The article draws on scholars of cultural globalisation such as Appadurai (1990), Harvey (1990) and Ritzer (2002) as well as empirical findings around Gangnam-style and the Gangnam district to analyze these processes of selective globalisation. We found that Gangnam-style becomes easily globalised through its fluid nature, being able to freely move through space and time, as well as being largely devoid of distinct content, which renders it more feasible for purposes of globalisation in this period of the globalisation of nothing. Gangnam-style also represents a certain a lifestyle that fits well into global consumer culture, as it promotes consumption and can easily become commoditized. Because traditional heritage on the other hand still travels “slowly” through time and space and is full of distinct local meanings and less easily commoditized, it is a less feasible place-scheme for representing Gangnam online to tourists. We discuss the implication of this drawing on the theory of the Tourist Gaze 3.0, as well as how the findings relate to authenticity and intra-Asian travel.  

Article Details

Section
Tourism Management
Author Biographies

Friedericke Kuhn, Wageningen University and Research

Cultural Geography

Meia van der Zee, Wageningen University and Research

Cultural Geography