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Title: The cultural production and consumption of the fit body in South Korea: focus on established – outsider figuration of the body in the fitness field
Authors: Choo, Hye Won
Supervisors: Smith Maguire, Jennifer
Dickinson, Roger
Award date: 1-Jul-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis examines the ways in which the fit body has acted as an established form of capital in Korea. In addressing this question, this research explores the theoretical and methodological links between Bourdieu‘s and Elias‘s perspectives. In particular, using the fitness field as the context, this study examines specific types of valued capital and assesses the ways in which figurations between actors are produced and reproduced in ways that reinforce and sometimes disrupt 'established-outsider‘ (E-O) figurations in other fields (such as the academic field). In working toward its findings, this work makes use of multiple methods, including historical media analysis, media production study, interviews, and comparison of Gangnam and Gangbuk, to name but a few. This diverse array of approaches allows for a more robust and nuanced look at the E-O figuration of the body (Elias & Scotson, 1994) that grounded the production and reproduction of body capital and habitus in the fitness field. The findings also reveal that fit bodies are pivotal to the formation of symbolic power in Korean socio-historical contexts. E-O figuration of fitness media production teams influences media texts. Fitness media texts underline the virtue of fit bodies while disguising symbolic violence toward the outsider body. TV producers of fitness programs and star trainers as cultural intermediaries reproduce the belief in the notion of the fit body through media strategies that include storytelling, body models, and intellectualization. Fitness clubs, members, and trainers in Gangnam and Gangbuk are distinguished by their fitness capital, academic capital, and civility. Thus, in contemporary Korean society, fitness is a hidden path that allows for and consolidates the reproduction of Established-Outsider hierarchies; as such, it has a distinctive/civilized mode, a specific form of cultural capital, and undeniable connection to Western fitness culture.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Media and Communication
Leicester Theses

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