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International Conference on Asian Culture Industries: A Comparative Study of India, Japan and South Korea

Announced on 15 July 2010

The Culture: Industries and Diversity in Asia (CIDASIA) Research Programme of CSCS invites proposals for papers at the International Conference on Asian Culture Industries to be held in Bangalore on 21st and 22nd December 2010. The conference is supported by Japan Foundation, New Delhi.

We invite scholars working on cinema, television, pop music, animation, gaming, in Asia in general and India, Japan and South Korea in particular to send in their proposals. We also welcome proposals from researchers working on the recent history of entertainment industries and government policy towards these industries. 

 The primary intention of the conference is to explore the possibility of comparative studies of entertainment industries in Asia. We focus on India, Japan and South Korea as a convenient starting point. The conference would like to examine the two way movement of cultural commodities in and out of these countries. Papers on the reception of cultural forms from these countries in other Asian locations too are welcome. We are not interested in papers devoted to detailed analyses of specific cultural texts.

 The culture industries of the countries under consideration have been largely inward looking for much of the post-colonial and post-imperial period. In the second half of the twentieth century they developed on the strength/weakness of their domestic markets, unlike Hong Kong which has a long and unbroken history of producing films for export. The conference will focus on the post-1990 period when for different reasons including underground circulation of cultural commodities in international markets, systematic efforts began to be made in these countries to export entertainment.

 The export of entertainment by Asian countries is coeval with the increasing economic importance of cultural production and consumption in today’s world. In India, for example, government agencies have estimated that cultural and creative industries contribute up to 34% of the GDP and employ 30% of the workforce. The circulation of cultural commodities in contexts other than those of their production draws attention to the hitherto under-researched area, namely the increased interface between culture and economics. In a global context where cultural production and consumption are engines of the economy, the manner in which cultural commodities flow, the resistances they encounter, the ways in which they are localized, transformed, and engender new cultural practices and have social and economic consequence that are completely unanticipated by the production centre are issues the conference will address.

 We would like to examine questions related to cultural markets and cultural economy. These include but are not limited to:

 a) Cultural impenetrability. Why do certain markets, especially Asian markets, prove to be impenetrable to commodities produced elsewhere? What role does the industrial and business context of the host market play in determining/limiting the flow of imported cultural commodities?

b) Localization. The acceptance of cultural objects in new markets is a direct consequence of localization, or the mediation of the object by distribution and exhibition sectors of the host country. How are cultural imports localized in the contexts examined? Of particular interest is the role played by film and television industries in localizing imports through context-specific publicity campaigns, dubbing, etc.

c) Creation of new subcultures. What new sub-cultures are formed in host countries and what is their similarity/difference with their counterparts in the production centre? These subcultures are at times premised on existing cultural stereotypes of the production centre and at other times they seriously challenge stereotypes (as in the case of Korean drama in Japan, which has contributed to the changed perception of Korea in Japan).

 d) Invisible and underground markets and ‘Soft Power’. The relative lack of control over distribution and exhibition and the rampant circulation of pirated media content in Asia create a situation in which cultural consumption is actively facilitated by unauthorized and underground markets. Typically, Japanese, Korean and Indian cultural commodities arrive in an authorized, legal market long after illegal channels have introduced them there. How do entertainment industries grapple with complex questions posed by unauthorized circulation of their productions? Do current discussions of ‘soft power’ adequately account for the actual extent of the circulation and influence of imported forms?

 e) Dispersal across media formats. Although dispersal of media content across a range of technologies and formats is not confined to Asia, we would like to draw attention to the ways in which digital technology has mediated the circulation of Asian cultural forms. The conference would like to examine the new opportunities and challenges of post-celluloid technologies for entertainment industries of the region. 

 Tentatively, the conference will be organized around the following broad areas:


  1. Asian Culture Industries: Conceptual and theoretical issues;
  2. Celluloid and post-Celluloid media forms in Asia
  3. Imported entertainment: Case studies of India, Japan and Korea
  4. Export of Culture: focus on comparative studies of more than one context of reception.


Instructions for Submission:

 Paper abstracts (250 words) should be submitted to S.V.Srinivas at Abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract. Abstracts should be submitted no later than 30 August, 2010. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by November 10, 2010. The maximum duration of individual presentations within each panel will be 25 minutes. All papers should be unpublished because they will be published on the conference website and/or in an edited conference volume.

Financial and other support:

  1. Complete or partial air travel reimbursement will be provided for a limited number of participants traveling from within Asia. Preference will be given to younger applicants.
  2. All participants will be provided basic, non-smoking accommodation free of cost for a maximum of three nights. Meals will be provided during the conference days.
  3. Indian visa costs and taxi fares will not be covered by the organizers.  

If you wish to apply for a travel reimbursement, indicate in a separate paragraph below your abstract the approximate cost of your air ticket and the extent of support you require. As of now we only have funding to reimburse a limited number of fares for participants travelling from locations in Asia and affiliated to institutions in Asian countries. We are in the process of seeking additional funds but at this stage we cannot commit ourselves to supporting travel costs of participants from non-Asian locations.

Further announcements about registration, funding and venue related details will be made available in due course. Please contact S.V. Srinivas at or for additional information.


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