Towards Spectacular Nationality: Media Production of Korean Nationality through the 2002 World Cup
This paper explores the role of the media in the production of Korean nationality during the 2002 World Cup. It suggests that the media coverage helped organise a spectacle of consumption, which became the primary means by which Korean nationality was articulated and understood. This study brings together research in media and Korean studies and aims to contribute to a timely understanding of nationality that recognises both its intimate connection with media and consumer culture and its normative and taxonomic function. The study elaborates a hybrid theoretical framework of a ‘system of signs’, which draws from Michel Foucault’s analysis of power and normalisation and the ideas of spectacle and simulacrum by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. The study examines two key cases of nationality production. Firstly, the ‘Red Devils’ and millions of street supporters that celebrated Korean victories were appropriated by the media to produce internally oriented affirmations of Korean identity and values that doubled as an entertainment spectacle. Secondly, the cult of admiration around the foreign manager Hiddink demonstrated how discourses of globalisation contribute to a social imaginary of global nationalities that compelled Koreans to judge their own nationality against the standards of the sŏnjin’guk (‘advanced nations’).