Making a niche: North American voice actors and Korean labor intermediaries in Seoul, Korea

Douglas R. Gress, Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the role of intermediaries in the newly forming and demand-driven niche market of English voice dubbing in Seoul, Korea. Standardized surveys and structured interviews of North American voice actors and South Korean agents are used to gather data. The findings suggest that cultural and structural embeddedness as well as 'power' be integrated into studies of intermediary-facilitated networks, particularly when foreign workers are adjusting to a local work environment. Research results reveal six network configurations that represent the structural embeddedness of networks deployed by agents, voice actors, client firms and studios active in this niche market. The power and trust associated with these relationships is studied vis-à-vis the culturally embedded environment of the local market in Seoul. Agents conform to Benner's typologies in that they are highly specialized in their market segments, reduce transaction costs and help manage risk, and act as 'market makers'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-578
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • American voice actors
  • Culture industry
  • Korea
  • Labor agency
  • Labor geography
  • Labor market intermediaries
  • Media
  • Networks
  • Voice actors
  • Voice dubbing industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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