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Right to the City: The Metropolis and Gangnam Style
- Right to the City: The Metropolis and Gangnam Style
- Choi, Julie
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- KOREA JOURNAL
- KOREA JOURNAL vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 86 - 110
- Psy; Gangnam Style; carnival; flaneur; mass ornament; right to the city
- ACAD KOREAN STUDIES
- AHCI; SCOPUS; KCI
- Document Type
- Psy's Gangnam Style was the first YouTube video ever to reach one and then two billion hits. This paper examines how and why it succeeded in speaking to and for so many in its time. Psy's Gangnam Style is best understood as a multi-media, digital representation of the metropolitan experience, a cityscape. If traditional pastoral represents a yearning to flee to the country to escape the alienation of the city, Psy's song and dance is an invitation to recreate an alternative pastoral in the city. Daily life is transposed into leisure as festivity becomes possible in city spaces planned and developed for entirely different purposes. In the tradition of the modernist flaneur, Psy narrates the city from the perspective of the scavenger or ragpicker making his way through the glorious detritus of contemporary commodity culture. Carnival, mass ornament, flineur-these are the tropes I borrow from classical cultural studies to examine Gangnam Style's different facets of engagement with urban issues. In the conclusion, I lean on Jacques Ranciere on the distribution of the sensible to argue that it is ultimately through the expansion of the aesthetic through play that Gangnam Style seeks to recuperate the right to the city.
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