Amidst the closing of national borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Korean pop culture flow continues to transcend boundaries with these notable achievements, namely in pop music with the success of the Korean band BTS. With their first Grammy nomination for a Korean band and success of virtual concerts, the band is an indicator of an ongoing East-to-West culture flow, which contradicts the cultural imperialism theory regarding the West as the centre and the East as the periphery. Focusing on the achievement of this band during the pandemic, this study thus aims to investigate 1) how the success of BTS is represented in Western news media in the context of the Covid-19 crisis and 2) how these discourses reflect the rise of Korean culture in Western countries in light of different cultural globalisation theories. With the combination of corpus linguistic techniques and critical discourse analysis, the study investigates a self-built corpus of news articles from six U.S. and U.K. news sources from March 2020 to September 2021. The study contributes to explaining the continual growth of the transnational East-to-West cultural movement during the global pandemic.
Bao Ngoc Dinh, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium