Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dempster


As a culture that seems to pride itself on how it is perceived, South Korea barely addresses and typically silences the issues of mental illnesses. This research will address these questions : 1) What is the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in South Korea n society? and 2) How does that affect the Korean pop artists and , in turn, the thousands of fans that idolize these artists? Current discourse demonstrates th e significant levels of prejudice towards and negative perceptions about mental illne sses in South Korean society; being labeled as such can be grounds for job dismissal and lead to bullying and ostracization . Utilizing journal articles, per sonal narratives, fan discourse on articles and forums , this paper argue s that South Korea’s stigma and discrimination against mental illnesses has created a dangerous situation for a portion of its citizens. This paper applies Bourdieu’s theory of habitus in order to closely examine both how South Korean society view s and why they silence the issue of mental illnesses. Furthermore, Gillogly's Fluid Personhood: Co nceptualizing Identities is used as a lens to frame K - Pop idols’ situati ons and the pressures t hey face . Offering new perspective s on the subject, these research findings can lead to more open dialogue on the issues of mental illnesses , which will not only open up new opportunities in the health care industry but can also lower suicide rates and improve the quality of life in South Korea.

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