Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kenneth C. Killebrew, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kimberly Golombisky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dongyoung Sohn, Ph.D.

Keywords

cultural imperialism, uses and gratifications, interpretive community, reception theory, ethnocentrism

Abstract

Prior studies have shown that the information and cultural product flow is dominantly one direction from large/wealthy markets to smaller markets. Extending this position through the underlying research, it is expected that the audiences in the United States, one of the largest cultural product exporters, may have shaped certain perceptions on the scarcity of Korean films in their domestic film market. By studying the users in an internet film discussion community, this research aims to provide useful ideas about how American audiences perceive Korean films. This qualitative case study conducted a content analysis of the actual postings by the participants on the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com) as they discuss the Korean movie "OldBoy."

Then, in-depth interviews with volunteered users were performed.Foreign films, such as Asian films like OldBoy, seem to especially satisfy their needs of alternatives due to these films' scarcity in U.S. market. In other words,participating in community discussion is a means of finding new foreign films, and watching new foreign films works as a way of contributing to their film viewing communities. Also, contributing the community enhances their perceived prestige as film enthusiasts.

The investigator started this research from the assumption that the scarcity of Korean films made U.S. audiences ethnocentric. However, study observed that the scarcity of Korean films and the foreignness of this film is treated as one of the most attractive aspects to this subset of viewers.

This study has shown that by contributing to and participating in message board discussions, the viewers built a film viewing community in the IMDb website. The discussions with others in the film viewing community helped them build and enhance their prestige as serious film-goers as they built an interpretive community. Tracking the posts and respondents' answers, the investigator could predict that they are building exchange networks in their foreign film viewing community, and this process may influence to their future foreign film viewing.

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