Gangnam (Life)Style as a Global Culture: Consumption and Connections for Upward Mobility


  • Kyoung-ho Shin Northwest Missouri State University, USA



Gangnam (Life)Style; Global Urban Culture; Consumption; Upward Mobility; Korea; Lifestyle


This study examines the political economic and social contexts of lifestyle of cultural consumption in Gangnam area of Seoul, South Korea. By focusing on consumption in the Gangnam area, in which the glitz of successfully riding the wave of globalization has crystallized, this study discerns major cultural and spatial features of the city’s new global urbanism. Whereas the dominant narrative on global cities emphasizes the financial concomitants of globalization in relation to global cities, this study draws attention to cultural dimensions of the dynamics that are manifest in “lifestyle” to which many residents of this global city in East Asia have come to adopt as a strategic investment. Using secondary archival data, the paper sheds lights on important ways in which the high-rent residential opportunities, culinary and retail establishments available, the educational opportunities and the global style with which it imbues customers of its beauty industry have come to be a powerful model for the aspirations of upward mobility in Seoul.



2022-12-20 — Updated on 2023-01-13


How to Cite

Shin, Kyoung-ho. (2022) 2023. “Gangnam (Life)Style As a Global Culture: Consumption and Connections for Upward Mobility”. Journal of Urban Culture Research 25 (January):175-92.