Emergence of individuated nationalism among the major baseball fans in South Korea

2007 2007

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation investigates the transformation of identities of people who experience globalization through mass media in their local places. I explore how South Korean sports fans constitute individual and collective identities through enjoying global sports, i.e. Major League Baseball. This study examines both the process of globalizing MLB in South Korea in the late 90s and the ways that Korean MLB fan enjoy MLB through interacting with other fans in their online community.

This study is concerned with three issues: global sports and nationalism/nation-states, global sports and national identity, and fans in an online community. First, using the experiences of Korean baseball fans as an exemplary case, this dissertation examines the issue of identity in a global era vis-à-vis the changing status of nationalism and the nation-states. Korean nationalism and the Korean government are still key influences in reconstituting the identities of Korean MLB fans. Particularly, mass media representations of MLB provided examples of national individuals as models for the altered nationalism of the late 1990s. Secondly, this dissertation investigates how the global sports are embedded in (re)constituting national identity among local people, and then how national identity has been transformed in this process. It focuses on global sports as a key element in national identity, the presence of national sentiment in MLB fandom in South Korea, and the transformation of “the structures of the national” among Korean MLB fans. Third, this dissertation examines an online community and its members, who are no longer limited to a geographical place but rather connect to each other based on common interest.

Conclusively, I suggest the term “individuated nationalism” to explain the complicated merging of the national with the idea of individuality. The notion of individuated nationalism implies that, in South Korea, nationalism is embedded in people’s everyday lives, but it is chosen as a personal taste or even rationalized and justified as an identity rather than embraced as a moral imperative or ideological manipulation. Korean MLB fans utilize their national fandom as a source of individual identity based on personal experiences, memories, and the circumstances in which they consume MLB.

Indexing (details)

Cultural anthropology;
Mass media;
0326: Cultural anthropology
0708: Mass media
0814: Recreation
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Baseball; Fans; Globalization; Korea; Major League Baseball; Nationalism
Emergence of individuated nationalism among the major baseball fans in South Korea
Cho, Younghan
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 68/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Grossberg, Lawrence
Committee member
Brown, Jane D.; Hershfield, Joanne; Hillis, Kenneth; Radway, Janice; Sharma, Sarah
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Communication Studies
University location
United States -- North Carolina
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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