'Cool' Asia - really? Cultural relativism and the cool/uncool divide in studying Asia

Allen, Matthew (2012) 'Cool' Asia - really? Cultural relativism and the cool/uncool divide in studying Asia. In: Cool New Asia: Asian popular culture in a local context. pp. 1-14. From: Cool New Asia: Asian popular culture in a local context, 25-26 November 2011, Auckland, New Zealand.

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[Extract] In the area studies literature, there has been much work in the past decade on Asian popular culture-its influence, its expansion, its intra-Asian flows, its 'recentring' moments, its mutual engagements within Asia, and its increasing popularity outside of Asia. There has been even more interest evinced among scholars in textually deconstructing Asian pop culture, and seeing it in the context of media and communication studies, literary theory, and cultural studies. Underwriting these engagements is a sub-text: Asia is 'cool'.

While the theme of this symposium is the engagement of the global within the local, and in particular the place of Asian 'cool' in this engagement, I think it is important first to consider what is meant by the term 'cool', and to see whether an understanding of this concept can problematise how we read 'Asian' cool in the proposed context. Recognising that the concept of 'cool', while broadly understood as a 'western' trait, is culturally, and even subjectively contingent helps us to locate the idea of 'Asian cool' within a context that emphasises specific locations and interactions. Once the concept is broadly defined, we can then ask how it can be applied to 'Asians', and where it can be applied, or indeed whether it can be. In emphasising the local engagements, we can unpack some of the culturally specific factors that influence the production and consumption of 'cool', and ask questions that can inform our critical engagement with Asian popular culture in the context of globalisation.

Item ID: 34688
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-1-927214-02-2
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Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2014 00:55
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169903 Studies of Asian Society @ 50%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200202 Asian Cultural Studies @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950502 Understanding Asias Past @ 50%
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