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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Lisa Henderson

Second Advisor

Mari Castañeda

Third Advisor

Kimberlee Pérez

Fourth Advisor

Miliann Kang

Subject Categories

Critical and Cultural Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Media


This dissertation examines how LGBTQ Koreans configure and reconfigure their senses of self and national belonging through affective attachment to digitally networked communication, queer and normative bodies, and institutional powers while producing cultural forms. This study builds on 17 months of online and offline ethnographic study of the Korea Queer Culture Festival (a Korean counterpart of a US Pride parade) as an exemplar of queer cultural production and activism using feelings. In recent years, this queer cultural production has become a critical site where LGBTQ Koreans negotiate with global identity politics, right-wing anti-LGBTQ politics, and developmental nationalism to claim their citizenship. To understand the rise of queer cultural activism in specific Korean and transnational contexts, this dissertation suggests the idea of sticky cultural activism. By sticky cultural activism, I mean how LGBTQ Koreans (to whom negative feelings have become historically attached more than to cisgender heterosexual counterparts) cultivate emotional attachment to and detachment from people, organizations, and discourses to get through their everyday precarious moments through their cultural production. This study particularly focuses on festival organizers’ diverse cultural and affective practices—creative labor, uses of stickers and selfies on social media, parades, performances, and profiling—as well as their interaction with local and transnational actors. Through these practices, LGBTQ Koreans get emotionally attached to the festival committee, Euro-American embassies in Korea, and Korean national development ideologies to produce self-affirming affect, realize their creativity, and build a sense of community, ultimately seeking to survive and thrive in a context of heightened precarity. This dissertation argues that a Korean queer subject is constituted as a collective, oppositional, and networked subject who embodies both possibilities and limitations. This dissertation makes three contributions. First, this study contributes to media studies by articulating the roles of networked affective attachment developed on social media in organizing social movements. Second, it contributes to citizenship studies by extending our understanding of how queer cultural producers engage with affective labor in the project of constructing new citizenship in post-developmental and neoliberal East Asia. Finally, it contributes to queer studies by providing contextual articulation of queer collectivity and its complications.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.