The 2002 Korea-Japan FIFA World Cup produced a monumental response by Koreans, both in South Korea and beyond. Millions of fans clad in red T-shirts spilled onto public streets to cheer for the Korea Football Team. These crowds functioned as media publics mobilized through mass media coverage of the event. Prescribed consumer practices and their effective display in public contexts shaped the uniform characteristics of the crowds. The crowds signaled important changes in the role of the state within a neo-liberal political atmosphere. They also demonstrated shifts in the gendered frameworks of national mass mobilizations. Through their behavior, Korean participants in the World Cup celebrations showed that media technologies shape how Koreans understand and express themselves as national subjects within this era of globalization. The political significance of the World Cup crowds resides in people’s lived experiences, and their recognition of the potential of human mobilizations to enact social and political change.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.