The Americanization of pop culture in Asia?
Abstract Within the discipline of cultural studies, the Americanization of popular culture in Asia seems to be taken-for-granted as a coherent whole and thereby, unproblematized. This paper argues that such anti-hegemonic, anti-colonial approaches to culturalism are inadequate. Reflecting on cricket as British imperialists’ moralizing, culturalizing and politicizing force in their colonized states, I analyze cultural forms namely, baseball and ‘American’ popular music in relation to its production, dissemination and commoditization in Taiwan. Keeping the similarities and differences of the ‘effects’ of both cultural forms taking root in Taiwan, I argue that the discipline of cultural studies require a critical subjectivity that privileges the strategizing choices of the agent within a framework which acknowledges the multiplicity of cultural reception and/or variable literacy.
Keywords: pop culture, Asia, colonialism and sport, transnationalism
Allen Chun is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Research interests include socio-cultural theory, (trans)national identity and (post)colonial formations. Most of his empirical work has dealt with Chinese speaking societies, contemporary and late traditional. In addition to a recent book, Unstructuring Chinese Society: The Fictions of Colonial Practice and the Changing Realities of 'Land' in the New Territories of Hong Kong (Harwood Academic Publications 2000, reprinted by Routledge, 2002), he has edited a special double issue in Cultural Studies 14(3-4) entitled ‘(Post)colonialism and Its Discontents’, a special issue in Social Analysis 46(2), entitled ‘Global Dissonances’, and co-edited a book entitled Refashioning Pop Music in Asia: Cosmopolitan Flows, Political Tempos and Aesthetic Industries (Routledge-Curzon). His major papers have appeared in diverse journals, including Toung Pao, Late Imperial China, History and Anthropology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Historical Sociology, Current Anthropology, Theory Culture & Society, boundary 2, Communal/Plural, Cultural Anthropology, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Social Analysis, Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Anthropological Theory, and Positions.