Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Innovation (M.A.)

Degree Program

Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies

First Advisor

Andrea Riley Mukavetz

Second Advisor

Azfar Hussain

Third Advisor

Deana Weibel

Academic Year



This study links the discourse analysis of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and cultural analysis of BTS--a South Korean music group--and their global fan base--ARMY. Despite its diversity in form, the current narrative of social innovation in academia has been limited to western market constructs, business, or technological innovations, while the process of social innovation remains under-researched. The BTS and ARMY movement has been a growing study in scholarship, as their collaborative efforts redefine a new form of human connection through digital intimacy, creating a grassroots movement for social and cultural revolution. By integrating and analyzing diverse concepts of social innovation literature with a variety of scholarship, the BTS and ARMY movement is a prime case study of a non-western framework for the process of social innovation. Their collaborative efforts and togetherness not only challenge the Western-dominated music hegemony but proved that non-western subjects and/or subjectivities are deconstructing definitions of culture, creativity, and social innovation exclusive to western frameworks. This asserts that non-western cultures, like Asia, can be a changeable force to the west, and western hegemony can no longer be a dominant force in the global context.