In early 2020, a conversation between nine self-identified ARMYs from six different countries took place via a Twitter group chat (the anonymized transcript for this conversation can be viewed here — all participants in the transcribed conversation consented to have it released). During this conversation, participants ruminated over the statement “BTS isn’t K-Pop” (a claim frequently asserted on social media within their networks). The discussion led them to ask a host of questions and a lively discussion ensued. Two of the overarching questions and themes from the discussion were. Visit here;Kpop albums.
- What exactly is K-pop?
- Why do some fans (several participants included) feel compelled to make a distinction between BTS and K-pop? And is this response warranted?
Ultimately, the participants chose to submit the transcript of their conversation to our Editorial Board because they wished to transition the discussion from a casual conversation to a constructive dialogue. With this in mind, our Editorial Board invited six individuals to our very first roundtable to discuss some of the topics raised in the aforementioned transcript. We hope you will join us in welcoming:
While we wanted this roundtable to engage with some of the issues raised in that chat, we also sought to have this be a space for panelists to engage with issues, theories, and perspectives that are meaningful to them given their backgrounds and interests. Our panelists have a wide range of experience and each is committed to this discussion as a means to encourage dialogue and critical thinking. To that end, we invited them to raise questions, wrestle with terms, and reflect on why this conversation matters to so many. We know that defining terms is an essential first step to engaged discourse. Why do these steps — defining and theorizing — matter? They matter because language matters. Words carry ideas and ideologies that are often rooted in tangled webs of power. The discussion we present in this roundtable takes a first step at demonstrating the histories, theories, ideology, and ultimately the influence that goes into defining K-Pop.
We invited participants based on experience, expertise, and their interest in the subject. Each was provided with a copy of the transcript and asked to respond to eight questions. Moderators read the responses and curated follow-up questions for discussion. Each participant then wrote a concluding statement.
Dialogue should be ongoing. While our participants have entered, listened, reflected, and shared their knowledge and experiences, we don’t believe this to be the end of the conversation. Defining K-Pop is a task that is historical, political, and connected to a myriad of cultural contexts and conventions. What we, as editors, hope readers will take from this is a moment to encounter, define, contextualize, unpack, and understand how terms never just exist on their own. Rather, words are part of complex systems and ideologies. These are necessary steps towards understanding how these terms circulate and impact the world. If BTS has taught us anything, it is the importance of engaging with the world and one another critically and respectfully. Our participants have modeled that throughout this conversation.