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Transnational sport : Gender, Media, and Global Korea : [book review] Elfving-Hwang, Joanna Dec 1, 2013

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Pacific Affairs: Volume 86, No. 4 ? December 2013930Seas islands. Echoing the indigenous call of: ?giving us back our names? in post-colonial Taiwan, we therefore expected Tierney to talk more about the question of reception and politics of reading between the Japanese colonizer and their ?multiple others.? In sum, Tierney offers a superb analysis of Japanese colonial discourse that enhances the study of global colonial literature and challenges the dyadic models of current postcolonial theories. Together with Leo Ching?s Becoming Japanese (2001), Faye Yuan Kleeman?s Under an Imperial Sun (2003), Tropics of Savagery helps bring Japan back to the scholarly attention of literary scholars and comparative historians, who until recently have considered European empires, if not the British in India, as their major subject.Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan     Lung-chih ChangTRANSNATIONAL SPORT: Gender, Media, and Global Korea. By Rachael Miyung Joo. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2012. xii, 336 pp. (Figures.) US$25.95, paper.  ISBN 978-0-8223-4856-6.Rachael Joo?s book is a valuable and welcome contribution to academic critique on how media sports intersect with both nationalist and gendered discourses to position individuals in Korea and the US as global Korean subjects. Through employing a transnational lens it illustrates how the discursive and visualized process of creating ideal ?global Koreanness? does not simply rely on drawing from national and ethnic signifiers of national identity that originate solely from South Korea. Rather, through analyzing visual media representations of sports events and ethnic Korean athletes in Korean and US media, this book proposes that images of ethnic Korean athletes based overseas also contribute to accepted notions of global Koreanness in a number of ways.The book is divided into three main sections, the first focusing on the history of sports broadcasting in Korea and Korean athletes in the US and Korean sports media.  Chapter 1 traces the historical trajectory between sports and national identity discourses in South Korean media to suggest reasons as to why recent events in the Korean sports annals (such as the 2002 World Cup) intersect with contemporary notions of national identity, and how sporting successes have been so effortlessly integrated in the narratives of the nation. Chapter 2 traces the genealogy of US multicultural sports history to critique the way in which notions of racial diversity have been deliberately commodified in the US sport media. Taking some prominent Korean American (or US-based Korean) athletes as an example, the author presents an analysis of how overplaying markers of the perceived foreignness of multicultural sporting stars in the US media allows sponsors and professional sporting organizations, such as the LPGA, to position them 931Book Reviewsas products for both domestic and overseas consumption. While highlighting this ?othering? par excellence, Joo makes an important point that the very same discourses are also simultaneously utilized to bolster the ?sense of American exceptionalism produced through sport? (85) within which the US appears as a land of opportunity for hardworking immigrants.Part 2 turns to analyzing gendered representations of athletes in Korean sports media. Chapter 3 puts forward a compelling argument of how the exposed torsos of South Korean male athletes in sports media and related advertising have been eroticized in the national imagination as symbolic representations of Korean national economic strength, and act as visual reminders to point to the imagined possibilities open to globalized Korean subjects. Transnationally, for Korean American men these male athletes may well represent a new powerful image of Asian masculinity, yet Joo makes an important point in emphasizing that Korean American men exercise agency and ?are able to pick and choose their own self-representation from a confusing mix of racial signifiers that are disconnected from history? (127) without the need to refer to images of Korean male athletes for signs of racial or nationalistic identification. Chapter 4 discusses representation of female golfers in transnational sports media. Unlike male athletes who are often positioned as representatives of the nation, female athletes in media narratives are utilized to symbolize the possibilities of individual neoliberal aspirations. However, rather than evidencing women?s liberation in a wider context in contemporary Korea, the author highlights how media narratives on golfers such as Pak Se Ri emphasize the centrality of a strong father figure who facilitates the success of the female athlete. Rather than subverting existing gender discourses that prioritize patriarchy, these narratives thus work toward justifying continuing patriarchal dominance. Part 3 moves on to discussing the viewing publics in both Korea and in Los Angeles Koreatown during the 2002 Football World Cup. Chapter 5 analyzes how individual subjects in Korea positioned themselves in relation to media and sports fandom, and performed signifiers of national identity in very organized and gendered ways. Chapters 6 and 7 employ the notion of pleasure to critique and question whether the World Cup was, as it was asserted in Korean American media, a transnational and transgenerational space for Koreans all over the world to come together as  a ?global Korean family? with the shared aim and purpose of cheering for the South Korean football team. Joo asserts that these ?emotional narratives of generational unity?  (235) were actually too transient and less concerned with nationalism to merit such claim, and rather bore a striking resemblance to the way young Koreans consume other  popular culture products for pleasure. This chapter illustrates how for many second-generation Koreans in the US in particular the motivation to view football matches and to display shared signs of Koreanness (such as wearing the national football shirt or chanting) was more about consuming pleasure than it was about connecting to some Pacific Affairs: Volume 86, No. 4 ? December 2013932presumably ?lost? notions of national identity. That said, Joo points out that pleasure does not necessarily foreclose the political potentiality of sport either. Accordingly, the concluding chapter describes how mass sporting events such as the World Cup can become embodied experiences which can create an affective memory of the mass crowds and a sense of shared unity and purpose. These experiences can inspire individuals to take part in mass events for shared purpose that can make mass protests (such as the 2002 and 2008 Candle Lit demonstrations) possible. Elaborating this further, the book closes with some thoughts on the potential of media sports to mediate between North-South Korea relations.Whilst the book as a whole would have perhaps benefitted from a clearer theoretical framework to structure and deepen analyses of media and advertisement narratives on gender and ethnicity, Joo?s work offers important and timely insights into the complexities that surround simplistic notions of not only national identity discourses played out in the media and the public, but also on the gaps that exist in attempting to analyze the national identity discourses of American Korean immigrant communities within a simplistic generational frame. This book will be an excellent resource for scholars working on Korean nationalism, Asian American studies and gendered representations in sports media, and a very welcome and useful addition to research on the political significance of global media sports.University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia Joanna Elfving-HwangNORTH KOREA IN TRANSITION: Politics, Economy, and Society. Edited by Kyung-Ae Park and Scott Snyder. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013. xvi, 312 pp. (Figures, tables.) US$80.00, cloth. ISBN 978-1-4422-1812-3.This useful book is a state-of-the-art treatment of North Korea (NK) for non-academics and is likely to be read widely in think-tank and policy circles. Its authors include some of the finest analysts of NK in English. Laymen will find the book appealing, because the essays, while well-informed, do not overwhelm with jargon. There is some heavy going, but one need not be a social scientist to grasp most of it. The book also ranges widely, covering issues like ideology, economic (mal)adaptation, the monarchy, and foreign relations. All these traits make it a solid introduction to the NK tangle.That said, the book is not light. The essays are rich, and scholars will also find new ideas and themes that merit sustained social scientific analysis. For example, David Kang suggests that status-seeking is a major element of NK foreign policy behaviour. This is a clever insight, and one that characterizes South Korean foreign policy too. Other researchers could formally develop and test such ideas. Specifically, academics in East Asian area studies, 


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