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Increasing Visibility of the Turkish Fans of South Korean Popular Culture through Translation

Mehmet Erguvan

Abstract: Having made a remarkable contribution to social questions in translation studies, the sociological approach to translation explores the interaction between human agents, translated texts, and their context of production and reception (Chesterman, 2006; Wolf & Fukari, 2007; Wolf, 2011). The research in this study is focused on target text users/pro-consumers. In line with this aim, this study is centered on Turkish fans of South Korean popular culture, most of whom have consumed, produced, and distributed diverse Korean popular culture products largely through translation. The present research particularly intends to problematize Korean fandom in Turkey considering John Fiske’s approach to fandom, which is based on Bourdieu’s consideration of culture, operating like an economic system to distribute its resources unequally and therefore distinguishing between individuals who possess greater degree of capital and the others deprived of it. This research, based on the Internet-mediated interviews (with 43 Turkish fans of South Korean pop culture), argues that Bourdieu’s consideration of fans as a group that is devoid of social and cultural power and is considered undistinguished in their cultural preferences and interpretative practices partly fails to enlighten the case of the Korean Wave fans in Turkey. This study has revealed that, cultural capital is not fixed but open to struggles, disclosing the fact that accumulation of popular cultural capital can bring prestige to certain fans that are more involved in and possess high knowledge within the fan community. Then, it has been posited that social networks play a far more major role in the formation and persistence of the fan community than does the accumulation of cultural capital. It has also been observed that popular cultural capital of Korean Wave fans can readily be converted into high social capital since Turkish fans who display their accumulated popular cultural capital are able to broaden their reach to other fans. Lastly, this research discloses that, Turkish fans’ increasing visibility and their influence over mass culture appear to form a particular kind of fan habitus which allows for variability in tastes and actions of the fans.
Keywords: fans / popular cultural / increasing visibility / Korean / discloses / Turkey / Turkish / diverse / capital

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