Digital Culture & Society
Editor-in-Chief: Reichert, Ramón
Ed. by Richterich, Annika / Abend, Pablo / Fuchs, Mathias / Wenz, Karin
In the article, I discuss new forms of mobility allowed by digital practices, i. e. digital mobilities consisting in visiting geographical places from and through a screen. This discussion is based on my online ethnographic research on international fans of South Korean television series, K-Dramas. The international fandom of K-Dramas, and in a larger sense, South Korean pop cultural products - exemplified by the success of South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in 2012 -, is a continually growing global phenomenon that has been observed from the end of the 2000s on; a fandom that is mainly constituted through the Internet. However, instead of discussing already thoroughly researched “classic” participatory digital activities of television series fans, as blogging or writing fan fiction, I will focus on still overseen forms of mobility practices engendered by the watching of K-Dramas. My research shows that international fans of K-Dramas are highly mobile - but as much digitally as actually. They do not only travel physically to Korea to visit film locations. They also engage in digital mobilities to Korea through the mediation of desktop web mapping services like Google Maps and their South Korean equivalents, Daum and Naver. This screen screen tourism - as I call it -, then, differs in many ways from screen tourism how it is discussed in previous research on media. In describing and discussing these forms of digital mobility, special attention will be given to two dimensions: (1) the techniques fans use to find film locations, and (2) fans’ “ethno-mapping,” i. e. the methods they have created to map out film locations online.