ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mapping the Meanings of Squid Game in South Asia

Squid Game’s subtle commentary on sociocultural morality and its meme-worthiness struck a chord with audiences across the diverse Asian landscape.

Squid Game (2021), the South Korean dystopian television drama series, is a cultural intervention in the South Asian media landscape, and has received a remarkable response from the South Asian audience. The drama engages with the questions of neo-liberal realities, such as oppression, exploitation, and inequality. Therefore, it is imperative to ask how such realities are reflected in the popular imaginations of South Asian viewers since the region is crisscrossed with many dimensions of neo-liberal capitalism. Along with such concerns, this article also deals with the moot point of emerging solidarity across the lines of transnational and transcultural mediation regarding precarity, prey and politics of provocations indicating the horrors of modern inequality and exploitations.

Audiences across South Asia tried connecting the storylines and underlying meanings of the series to their own context. Meme creators localised the plot and characters of Squid Game by incorporating elements of South Asian popular culture, which in turn initiated a stream of conversation in the comment sections of various social media platforms. Squid Game audiences reflected on a time that has been marred by a pandemic and uncertainty. Many felt trapped like the characters in the show, whose survival was threatened. In their meaning-making process, Squid Game became more than a game, triggering a fear of loss and a crisis of survival. Across borders, people started losing jobs, facing financial crises, and grappling with health and mental stress due to the pandemic.

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Updated On : 3rd Jul, 2023
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