This book explores the transformation of cultural and national identity of global sports fans in South Korea, which has undergone extensive cultural and economic globalization since the 1990s. Through ethnographic research of Korean Major League Baseball fans and their online community, this book demonstrates how a postcolonial nation and its people are developing long-distance affiliation with American sports accompanied by nationalist sentiments and regional rivalry. Becoming an MLB fan in South Korea does not simply lead one to nurturing a cosmopolitan identity, but to reconstituting one's national imaginations. Younghan Cho suggests individuated nationalism as the changing nature of the national among the Korean MLB fandom in which the national is articulated by personal choices, consumer rights and free market principles. The analysis of the Korean MLB fandom illuminates the complicated and even contradictory procedures of decentering and fragmenting nationalism in South Korea, which have been balanced by recalling nationalism in combination with neoliberal governmentality.
Younghan Cho is Professor of Korean Studies at the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea. He has published widely on global sports, fans and celebrity, the Korean Wave and East Asian pop culture, and nationalism and modernity in modern Korea and East Asian society.