IIPC Debate 24 February

IIPC Debate 119, Friday 24.2. 14-16. Room A270 (Arcanum, University of Turku & Online:

K-pop “dolls” and the question of authenticity

Associate Professor Aljosa Puzar, University of Ljubljana

This lecture will re-visit and re-work a decade-old theoretical description of female dollification in K-pop contexts, and beyond. Figurations of K-pop femininity and masculinity are conventionally and habitually related to the debates on “East Asian” female infantile cuteness and soft masculinity. As such, they offer a way into ongoing conversations on authenticity, glocality, and transnational qualities of the globalized K-pop on one hand, and on the other, require new critical feminist takes, preferably working beyond moral panic and dogmatism. The entire lecture is searching for the buried bodies of K-pop, relying on the traces of emic or local knowledge of South Korean “living dolls”, and it is based on the ethnographic archive. It will try to partly disentangle the South Korean paradox of secondary infantilization, interwoven with postfeminist re-sexualization of female performances and preferences. The initial debate of the interiorized western(ized) and male gaze, considered crucial in the early understanding of dollification, will be, therefore, expanded and amended, adjusting the model to the present transition from melodramatic to the hitherto unnamed structure of feeling sensed in South Korean (post)postfeminist public debate and private lives.


Aljosa Puzar /Aljoša Pužar/ (Ph.D. Rijeka, Ph.D. Cardiff) is Croatian-Italian-Slovenian cultural studies scholar, ethnographer, writer, and social critic. Associate Professor of Cultural studies and Urban Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. From 2007 to 2016 he was teaching and researched at South Korean universities. His theories of dollification and performed cuteness are used in K-pop studies since 2011.

IIPC Debates are free and open for everyone. Warm welcome!


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