Anything but Gugak* and Trot: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes in South Korea

Su Jung Kim, HYae Jeong Joo, Setbyol Choi

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3 Scopus citations


Most empirical studies of cultural capital and omnivorousness have focused on the problem of inclusion, which appears in the form of “likes.” However, the neglected matter of exclusion revealed in the form of “dislikes” is not simply the contrary of “likes” or inclusion, but has a distinctive meaning. This study examines how such symbolic exclusion through cultural (dis)tastes manifests in South Korean society by analyzing “dislikes” of 24 musical genres. It reviews the literature on cultural tastes and symbolic exclusion, and conducts a thorough review of the specificity and cultural topography of South Korean society, finding that tolerant South Korean omnivores show a unique pattern of excluding certain musical genres that are regarded as lowbrow and are preferred by lower-educated and older people. This study suggests that social hatred toward and exclusion of the elderly repeatedly appear in the musical genres that are deeply culturally associated with them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-350
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Asian Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

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  • cultural taste
  • educated tolerance
  • musical dislike
  • omnivore
  • symbolic exclusion


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