The Role of Hegemonic Masculinity and Hollywood in the New Korea


  • Richard Howson University of Wollongong
  • Brian Yecies University of Wollongong



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 socio-cultural 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 re-presentation 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 Connell’s 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.


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Author Biographies

Richard Howson, University of Wollongong

Sociology Program; Senior Lecturer

Co-Director, Centre for Research on Men and Masculinities

Brian Yecies, University of Wollongong

Cultural Studies Program; Senior Lecturer


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How to Cite

Howson, R., & Yecies, B. (2016). The Role of Hegemonic Masculinity and Hollywood in the New Korea. Masculinities &Amp; Social Change, 5(1), 52–69.