The winner loses: The construction of professional identities and careers among Korean poets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Given its relative strength and recent growth, the Korean poetry market offers a uniquely productive context to explore artists’ careers and identities amidst the marketization of culture. Drawing on original interviews with 16 contemporary Korean poets, this study examines their construction of identities and careers within the intersection of the literary field and poetry market. At this intersection, the imperatives of securing an autonomous status and economic security are mutually intertwined and transformative. I argue that Korean poets participate actively in the growing market, affirming their poetic identities through jobs and activities emerging from new niches—sometimes to a greater extent than through institutional support from the literary field. However, rather than venturing into the market as ideal entrepreneurs, the poets wait for the right opportunities, measured by individualized terms of authenticity and autonomy. While navigating diverse niches, the poets combine “status–profession” and “entrepreneur–profession” models in mutuality to construct their identities to fit the given transactions symbolically and instrumentally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101638
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Yonsei University [grant number 2019–22–0025 ].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'The winner loses: The construction of professional identities and careers among Korean poets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this