place identity

Gangnam Style – A Symbol of Fast Urban Growth and Deep Inequality

May 22, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Yooil Bae (Fulbright University Vietnam) and Yu-Min Joo (National University of Singapore) | In 2012, South Korean singer Psy’s Gangnam Style became a global sensation, earning three billion views on YouTube. In several interviews, Psy mentioned that the theme of the song was intended to satirize the extravagant and speculative culture of the place (Jung and Li 2014). With his motto to “dance cheesy, dress classy,” the music video showed Gangnam’s trendy and luxurious lifestyle, as well as the high-rise properties of the wealthy. Indeed, Gangnam has become an emblematic and successful example of Korea’s compressed economic development. At the same time, it also began to symbolize deepening urban segregation, as Gangnam is concentrated with the super-middle class with socio-economic, and even political, superiority in South Korea. Similar urban scenes—dubbed as “Gangnam-ization” (Park and Jung 2017)—have also sprouted up in other metropolises of rapidly developing countries, including China and Indonesia. Read More