Article ID: CBB915042458

The Platformization of Culture: Webtoon Platforms and Media Ecology in Korea and Beyond (2021)


This article examines the webtoon (wept'un)—a term coined in Korea to refer to webcomics—which is arguably the most pervasive and powerful form of digital serial production in twenty-first-century Korea. Webtoons have developed by utilizing various potentials that the digital platform offers, such as open solicitation, (partial) free web/mobile distribution, profit from advertisement and page viewing, and transmedia production. As a new cultural medium, the webtoon is thus inseparable from its platform and organically tied to its distinctive platform ecology, which is different from the ecosystems that other (global) mega-platforms create. Engaging with the insights from recent studies of platforms and utilizing empirical media analysis, I argue that Korean webtoon platforms demonstrate the continuing and intensifying dependency of art on platforms—a process that I call “the platformization of culture”—and that this specific type of platformization is reinforced by what I call “the artist incubating system.” The case of webtoon platforms reveals a number of telling aspects of media ecosystems for art production in the digital age—aspects that are spreading and expanding to various fields of art.

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Authors & Contributors
Emanuela Piga Bruni
Blake Atwood
Emma Bedor Hiland
Park, Dongoh
Jeff Diamanti
Jones, Elizabeth D.
Research in Philosophy and Technology
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
MIT Press
State University of New York at Buffalo
Yale University Press
University Press
University of West Virginia Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
Technology and culture
Mass media and culture
Technology and society
Information science
Popular culture
Dreyfus, Hubert L.
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
18th century
United States
South Korea
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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