The Amateur: Digital Transindividuation in South Korea

Kim, Ji Hyeon. 2018. The Amateur: Digital Transindividuation in South Korea. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis inquires into the cultural-political constitution of what are commonly known as the Amateur and Amateurism, terms which need to be seen from a new perspective in the digital era. The discussion begins with whether amateur production of culture and media and the role of monetary compensation are changing upon the emergence of the Web and digital technologies. Amateur productions networked to online audience communities are here understood using Simondon’s concepts of individuation, recently re-interpreted by Stiegler and Virno, as transindividual activities that realise human potential in newly structured society and politics. At the same time, however, it is not overlooked that such transindividual activities are technologically mediated by cognitive capitalist digital platforms specialised in mediating and monetising user-created content. Thus, the formation of gift culture around production and circulation of amateur content is discussed with its relationship to the commodity economy on such platforms. In this context, live streaming videos from Afreeca TV and Web-cartoons (Webtoons) have been selected as case studies to investigate audiovisual content production of professional-like amateurs on South Korean-based digital platforms, specifically during the candlelight rallies of 2008 and the impeachment proceedings of 2017. Conducted over three years, a variety of empirical studies on the multimedia interaction between amateur producers and their audience community provides a critical analysis of how the amateur's individual, self-fulfilling activities are transformed into the gift culture-based transindividual and competitive commercial activities and are embedded in the logic of cognitive capitalism. The counter-commercial movement of the amateur self-publishers concerned with the transindividuality of the memory technics is also presented. Their dedication to materalise individual and collective memories through paper-book publishing evokes the original value and ethos of amateurism devoted to the diversity of culture and life.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Additional Information:

Redacted version of thesis.


Amateur, transindividuation, South Korea, Simondon, Stiegler, Virno

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


30 September 2018

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Date Deposited:

24 Oct 2018 12:00

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:14


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