Melodramatic tactics for survival in the neoliberal era: Excess and justice in the Heirs and My Love from the Star

We Jung Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article examines two 2013 TV miniseries, The Heirs and My Love from the Star, by relating their melodramatic aesthetics to the survivalist imperative under neoliberal governance. From the colonial sinp'a theater to Golden Age films, melodrama has operated as a popular mode of imagination that expresses inarticulate experiences generated over the course of Korea's modernization. To extend and complicate existing scholarship on modern melodrama, this study approaches recent K-dramas' melodramatic modes as both an affective response to and an everyday tactic for coping with failing economic democracy in contemporary Korea. In this light, the intensifying fantastic elements of the genre are deemed not so much anachronistic as tactical, as they are deployed to reclaim the justice and equality that are felt to be hopelessly disappearing in daily lives. As I look at their excessive aesthetics within the context of diminishing social mobility in the neoliberal era, my analysis of the two miniseries further notes the gendered structure of these melodramatic fantasies in which the survival of women, who have fewer privileges, is achieved through the reform of male elites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-173
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Korean Studies
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

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melodrama
tactics
Korea
love
aesthetics
justice
Social Mobility
drama
theater
privilege
modernization
equality
genre
coping
elite
governance
democracy
reform
economics
experience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

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Melodramatic tactics for survival in the neoliberal era : Excess and justice in the Heirs and My Love from the Star. / Yi, We Jung.

In: Journal of Korean Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1, 01.03.2018, p. 153-173.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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