[KS] The 60th Yonsei-KF Korean Studies Forum

김혁래 hyukrae at yonsei.ac.kr
Wed Jun 7 12:32:03 EDT 2006


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The Korean Studies Program and the Institute for Modern Korean Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University are pleased to invite you to attend the 60th Yonsei-KF Korean Studies Forum, which will be held on Tuesday, June 13th at 6:00 pm in Room 702 of New Millennium Hall at Yonsei University. The speaker will be Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Studies, University of California, Davis; Jee-Eun Regina Song. Her talk will be "Building an Empire One Cup at a Time: Cultural Meaning and Power of Starbucks.”  The abstract of her paper can be found at the end of this email.
 


 

The presentation will be followed by a dinner reception. I hope you will come to enjoy the presentation, the discussion, and the reception. Contact Cedar Bough Saeji at 016-525-3239, umyang at gmail.com for further inquiries.  
 
Sincerely, 
 


 

Hyuk-Rae Kim
Professor of Korean Studies
GSIS, Yonsei University 
 


 

Abstract:
 

Contemporary globalization has undoubtedly changed the relationship between time, space, and people.  In order to better understand the impact that globalized forces have on localized individuals, my project analyzes the relationship between a global product that is undoubtedly American and its local consumers in the twenty-first century.  It presents an analysis of the cultural meanings of coffee consumption in contemporary South Korea by way of a detailed case-study of Starbucks Korea. It asks, what does the proliferation of designer cafés signify regarding the political, economic, and social restructuring associated with globalization in today's Korea?  It begins to address this complex question through ethnographic research, paying particular attention to the material and symbolic exchanges between the business strategies of Starbucks, especially its marketing and promotion, and the varied consumptive practices of local patrons.  
                Through participant observation and in-depth interviews, I explore four dimensions particular to Starbucks Korea: advertising, product development, architectural and physical space, and preferred consumption codes.  The project looks at how Koreans interpret Starbucks differently depending on their gender, class, geography, education, employment and age. It examines how an array of local cultural narratives complicates our understandings of global products and globalization.  To this end, I investigate 1) the product as global political text and material, 2) the local Korean elaboration of café culture and coffee consumption as simultaneously Korean and global, and 3) the tensions of Starbucks Korea as emblematic of American business.
 

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