Premediating a Narrative of Growth: BTS, Digital Media, and Fan Culture

Hyunshik Ju


This article explores the landscape of fan engagements with BTS, the South Korean idol group. It offers a new approach to studying digital participation in fan culture. Digital fan-based activity is singled out as BTS’s peculiarity in K-pop’s history. Grusin’s discussion of ‘premediation’ is used to describe an autopoietic system for the construction of futuristic reality through online communication between BTS and ARMY, as the fans are called. As such, the BTS’s live performance is experienced through ARMY’s premediation, imaging new identities of ARMY as well as BTS. The way that fans engage digitally with BTS’s live performance is motivated by a narrative of growth of BTS with and for ARMY. As an agent of BTS’s success, ARMY is crucial in driving new economic trajectories for performative products and their audiences, radically intervening in the shape and scope of BTS’s contribution to a global market economy. Hunshik Ju graduated with Doctor of Korean Literature from Sogang University in South Korea. He is currently a full-time lecturer at the department of Korean Literature and Language, Sungkyul University. 

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Popular Entertainment Studies ISSN 1837-9303