Publication Details

Howson, R. & Yecies, B. (2016). The role of hegemonic masculinity and Hollywood in the New Korea. Masculinities and Social Change, 5 (1), 52-69.


We argue that during the 1940s Hollywood films had an important role to play in the creation of a postwar South Korean society based on the new global U.S. hegemony. The connections between political and economic change in South Korea and sociocultural factors have hitherto scarcely been explored and, in this context, we argue that one of the key socio-cultural mechanisms that supported and even drove social change in the immediate post-war period was the Korean film industry and its representation of masculinity. The groundbreaking work of Antonio Gramsci on hegemony is drawn on in particular, his understanding of the relationship between commonsense and good sense as well as Raewyn Connells concept of hegemonic masculinity. The character of Rick in the 1941 Hollywood classic Casablanca is used to illustrate the kind of hegemonic masculinity favoured by the U.S. Occupation authorities in moulding cultural and political attitudes in the new Korea.