Over the last two decades, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean popular culture products have been massively exported, marketed, and consumed throughout East and Southeast Asia. A wide variety of these products are especially accessible and readily apparent in the region’s big cities. Concurrently, regional collaborations in the production and marketing of movies, music, animation, and television programs are also having a strong impact on the local cultural markets. These productions are initiated by entrepreneurs in search of new business expansion opportunities in this region’s emerging consumer-driven markets. By employing an interdisciplinary approach that breaches the barriers that separate the social sciences from the humanities, this project will examine cultural aspects of regionalization in East and Southeast Asia. The research itself focuses on the process by which confluences of popular culture have diffused throughout markets in this region in the period surrounding the 1990s, the concurrent formation of what I call “regional media alliances”, and the corresponding policies initiated by the state toward the production and export of culture. The purpose of this study is to explore the connection between the commodification of culture and the dynamics of regionalization by examining the activities of the popular culture industries in East and Southeast Asia over the last two decades. An attempt is made to go beyond state-centric explanations of regionalization and develop a theoretically plausible account for the way commodified culture affects regional formation.
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