Korean Hip Hoppers’ Identity Negotiation in Non-performative Spoken Discourse


  • Jae-hyun Im Indiana University Bloomington




hip hop, Korean hip hop, hip hop localization, discursive psychology, membership categorization analysis


Using membership categorization analysis, this article examines how Korean hip hoppers draw on social categories to discursively construct their identities, focusing on three cases of media representation: an idol rapper’s identity negotiation, rappers’ characterization of the aggressive aspects of rap battles, and the dual identity of a rapper who is also a teacher. Specifically, the article analyses the identity negotiation of Korean idol and hip hop musician Zico, focusing on his distinction between idols as performers who care about external features and rappers as artists who possess an independent will to move forward; the discursive characterization of rap battles on the part of Korean hip hoppers, who describe the aggressive verbal features of rap as a sport regulated by rules that players follow in order to be acknowledged as legitimate members of the community; and finally, a teacher-rapper’s rap audition, focusing on how she negotiates her dual identities in order to recontextualize the audition into a pedagogical discourse marked by categorical characteristics of a teacher-student interaction.

Author Biography

  • Jae-hyun Im, Indiana University Bloomington

    Jae-hyun Im is a PhD candidate in the Literacy, Culture, and Language Education department at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interests include identity, hip-hop and English education, and discursive psychology.


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How to Cite

Im, J.- hyun. (2021). Korean Hip Hoppers’ Identity Negotiation in Non-performative Spoken Discourse. Journal of World Popular Music, 7(2), 168–189. https://doi.org/10.1558/jwpm.42672