Transnational Sport

Gender, Media, and Global Korea

Transnational Sport

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 18 illustrations Published: February 2012

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Asian Studies > East Asia, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies

Based on ethnographic research in Seoul and Los Angeles, Transnational Sport tells how sports shape experiences of global Koreanness, and how those experiences are affected by national cultures. Rachael Miyung Joo focuses on superstar Korean athletes and sporting events produced for transnational media consumption. She explains how Korean athletes who achieve success on the world stage represent a powerful, globalized Korea for Koreans within the country and those in the diaspora. Celebrity Korean women athletes are highly visible in the Ladies Professional Golf Association. In the media, these young golfers are represented as daughters to be protected within the patriarchal Korean family and as hypersexualized Asian women with commercial appeal. Meanwhile, the hard-muscled bodies of male athletes, such as Korean baseball and soccer players, symbolize Korean masculine dominance in the global capitalist arena. Turning from particular athletes to a mega-event, Joo discusses the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, a watershed moment in recent Korean history. New ideas of global Koreanness coalesced around this momentous event. Women and youth assumed newly prominent roles in Korean culture, and, Joo suggests, new models of public culture emerged as thousands of individuals were joined by a shared purpose.


“Joo’s use of ethnographic material, participant observation, and interviews are justifiably necessary and highly enriching to her study of the negotiations between gender, media, and global Korea.” — Myoung-Sun Song, International Journal of Communication

“Rachael Miyung Joo presents a well-rounded look at transnational sport in her book. It covers many important and interesting topics. . . .[The] content of each topic is informative and the analysis, inspiring. . . . The various topics discussed in the book offer multiple entries for worthwhile comparison beyond South Korea alone.” — Hsueh-cheng Yen, Asian Anthropology

"Writing in clear authoritative prose and avoiding the jargon of historical discourse and examined identity, Joo provides clear explanations in each chapter of her main points and conclusions. . . . Recommended." — K. Lynass, Choice

Transnational Sport is an accessible yet rigorously written book that will help closely investigate the world that transnational/Korean media sport has made. Thus, the book is highly recommended for courses on, as well as for scholars and students in the fields of, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies of sport; Asian American studies; and Asian studies.” — Jin-Kyung Park, Journal of Asian Studies

Transnational Sport makes an excellent contribution to both Korean and Korean American studies by offering thoughtful analyses of wide-ranging interesting data and critical ethnographic commentaries on the sociocultural and political economic significance of transnational media sport.” — Chunghee Sarah Soh, American Ethnologist

"Joo... advance[s] our understanding of the key roles that sports play in gendering societies in Asia, but with clear application to other parts of the world. [Transnational Sport is] invaluable for researchers, and I highly recommend [the book] for classroom use." — Yunxiang Gao, Signs

"In this far-reaching work, Rachael Miyung Joo reveals transnational sport as a powerful lens for observing the making of 'global Koreanness.' From the South Korean golfer Se Ri Pak and the baseball player Chan Ho Park to the Korean adoptee and Olympic skier Toby Dawson and the mixed-race Korean NFL player Hines Ward, and from the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan to North–South Korea sporting matches, we learn not only of adoring fan bases, but more expansively of South Korean, Korean American, and transnational Korean publics whose affinities and potentials far exceed sport. Transnational Sport beautifully demonstrates the power and pleasures of sport, as well as its enormous scholarly reach." — Nancy Abelmann, author of The Intimate University: Korean American Students and the Problems of Segregation

"To be part of the international sports community means, in our moment, to live paradoxically: to simultaneously support from within the nation and to express that support across national boundaries in such a way as to almost invalidate the nation. Transnational Sport is a dedicated study of this dilemma. Rachael Miyung Joo delineates the difficult, sometimes conflicting ways in which the national and the transnational cohabit in the global Korean sports community. Written with passion and a sympathetic critical eye, Transnational Sport lends a vivacity and a certain pathos to the standing of Korean athletes, such as the baseballer Chan Ho Park, the golfer Se Ri Pak, and the Olympic gold-medalist figure skater Kim Yuna." — Grant Farred, author of Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Rachael Miyung Joo is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Middlebury College.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Note on Transliteration xiii

Introduction: Manufacturing Koreanness through Transnational Sport 1

Part I. Situating Transnational Media Sport

1. To Be a Global Player: Sport and Korean Developmental Nationalisms 35

2. A Leveraged Playing Field: U.S. Multiculturalism and Korean Athletes 65

Part II. Reading Masculinities and Femininities through Transnational Athletes

3. Playing Hard Ball: The Athletic Body and Korean/American Masculinities 101

4. Traveling Ladies: Neoliberalism and the Female Athlete 131

Part III. The Transnational Publics of the World Cup

5. Nation Love: The Feminized Publics of the Korean World Cup 163

6. Home Field Advantage: Nation, Race, and Transnational Media Sport in Los Angeles's Koreatown 194

7. Generations Connect: Discourses of Generation and the Emergence of Transnational Youth Cultures 222

Conclusion: The Political Potentiality of Sport 250

Notes 267

References 303

Index 323
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4856-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4842-9
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