About the Gangnam Style and Culture

Seoul Marked on a Map

Have you ever wondered why the “Gangnam style” is so popular? Interestingly enough, the video as well as the dance got copied, translated, parodied, re-danced all over the world. Even among business people asked to try and dance for the purpose of team building or motivation it is very attracting and instantaneously creates a good atmosphere. How can a video suddenly become so popular? Or better, what does this tell us about culture?

Well, of course there are the new media and technologies. Everybody can instantly comment and see what is happening. Secondly, the music is sort of dragging you out of the chair, inviting you to move. And then of course there are the movements… not easy I must say ;-) it certainly requires some kind of a skill plus a lot of practice to be able to somehow try and copy the swinging legs and moving hips. But the funny thing is: although not many people actually know what the “Gangnam style” actually is or means, everybody, from young to old all around the globe seems to have the same fun watching and dancing to the various versions of the one song.

What it tells me with my intercultural communication hat is that once again it gives us a prominent example that “culture” as such, is a dynamic and flexible construct which sometimes self-organizes  itself. Nobody could have known that this video would make its way that fast to different corners of the world. It also shows how music (and on that matter also sport) is uniquely able to rally people from different backgrounds and upbringings and makes people forget, even for a short period of time, where they come from and what their problems are. Well, I will definitely keep up the practice and all I can say is: Well done PSY and thanks for making us laugh!

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