Since the end of the Korean War, an estimated 200,000 children from South Korea have been adopted into white families in North America, Europe, and Australia. While these transnational adoptions were initiated as an emergency measure to find homes for mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the war, the practice grew exponentially from the 1960s through the 1980s. At the height of South Korea’s “economic miracle,” adoption became an institutionalized way of dealing with poor and illegitimate children. Most of the adoptees were raised with little exposure to Koreans or other Korean adoptees, but as adults, through global flows of communication, media, and travel, they have come into increasing contact with each other, Korean culture, and the South Korean state. Since the 1990s, as Korean children have continued to leave to be adopted in the West, a growing number of adult adoptees have been returning to Korea to seek their cultural and biological origins. In this fascinating ethnography, Eleana J. Kim examines the history of Korean adoption, the emergence of a distinctive adoptee collective identity, and adoptee returns to Korea in relation to South Korean modernity and globalization. Kim draws on interviews with adult adoptees, social workers, NGO volunteers, adoptee activists, scholars, and journalists in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea, as well as on observations at international adoptee conferences, regional organization meetings, and government-sponsored motherland tours.
This book explores the dynamic changes now taking place in the South Korean government as a result of recent social and economic liberalization. Sung Deuk Hahm and L. Christopher Plein trace the emergence in Korea of a post-developmental state, in which both increasingly autonomous capital interests and growing public expectations of a higher quality of life challenge existing authoritarian institutions. Separating out the constituent parts of the Korean state, they then explore the evolving roles of the Korean presidency and bureaucracy in setting national policy.
The authors analyze the importance of social and cultural factors, as well as the motives of individual political actors, in shaping institutional change in Korea. They show how shifting socioeconomic conditions have altered the way political decisions are made. Hahm and Plein illustrate these transitions with concrete examples of policy making in the area of technology development and transfer—an area of critical importance to Korea's rapid modernization.
Between Foreign and Family explores the impact of inconsistent rules of ethnic inclusion and exclusion on the economic and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese living in Seoul. These actors are part of a growing number of return migrants, members of an ethnic diaspora who migrate “back” to the ancestral homeland from which their families emigrated. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interview data, Helene K. Lee highlights the “logics of transnationalism” that shape the relationships between these return migrants and their employers, co-workers, friends, family, and the South Korean state.
While Koreanness marks these return migrants as outsiders who never truly feel at home in the United States and China, it simultaneously traps them into a liminal space in which they are neither fully family, nor fully foreign in South Korea. Return migration reveals how ethnic identity construction is not an indisputable and universal fact defined by blood and ancestry, but a contested and uneven process informed by the interplay of ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, gender, and history.
The Burden of the Past reexamines the dispute over historical perception between Japan and South Korea, going beyond the descriptive emphasis of previous studies to clearly identify the many independent variables that have affected the situation. From the history textbook debates, to the Occupation-period exploitation of “comfort women,” to the Dokdo/Takeshima territory dispute and Yasukuni Shrine visits, Professor Kimura traces the rise and fall of popular, political, and international concerns underlying these complex and highly fraught issues.
Utilizing Japanese and South Korean newspaper databases to review discussion of the two countries’ disputed historical perceptions from the end of World War II to the present, The Burden of the Past provides readers with the historical framework and the major players involved, offering much-needed clarity on such polarizing issues. By seeing behind the public discourse and political rhetoric, this book offers a firmer footing for a discussion and the steps toward resolution.
Transnational adoption was once a rarity in the United States, but Americans have been choosing to adopt children from abroad with increasing frequency since the mid-twentieth century. Korean adoptees make up the largest share of international adoptions—25 percent of all children adopted from outside the United States—but they remain understudied among Asian American groups. What kind of identities do adoptees develop as members of American families and in a cultural climate that often views them as foreigners? Choosing Ethnicity, Negotiating Race is the only study of this unique population to collect in-depth interviews with a multigenerational, random sample of adult Korean adoptees. The book examines how Korean adoptees form their social identities and compares them to native-born Asian Americans who are not adopted. How do American stereotypes influence the ways Korean adoptees identify themselves? Does the need to explore a Korean cultural identity—or the absence of this need—shift according to life stage or circumstance? In Choosing Ethnicity, Negotiating Race, sixty-one adult Korean adoptees—representing different genders, social classes, and communities—reflect on early childhood, young adulthood, their current lives, and how they experience others' perceptions of them. The authors find that most adoptees do not identify themselves strongly in ethnic terms, although they will at times identify as Korean or Asian American in order to deflect questions from outsiders about their cultural backgrounds. Indeed, Korean adoptees are far less likely than their non-adopted Asian American peers to explore their ethnic backgrounds by joining ethnic organizations or social networks. Adoptees who do not explore their ethnic identity early in life are less likely ever to do so—citing such causes as general aversion, lack of opportunity, or the personal insignificance of race, ethnicity, and adoption in their lives. Nonetheless, the choice of many adoptees not to identify as Korean or Asian American does not diminish the salience of racial stereotypes in their lives. Korean adoptees must continually navigate society's assumptions about Asian Americans regardless of whether they chose to identify ethnically. Choosing Ethnicity, Negotiating Race is a crucial examination of this little-studied American population and will make informative reading for adoptive families, adoption agencies, and policymakers. The authors demonstrate that while race is a social construct, its influence on daily life is real. This book provides an insightful analysis of how potent this influence can be—for transnational adoptees and all Americans.
As Americans become more conscious of trade competition from Japan, Korea looms large as another source of high-quality goods. What accounts for Korea's ability to compete in foreign markets, and what distinguishes it from its island neighbor? Anthropologist Kim sheds light on this question through an ethnography of a South Korean manufacturer, showing how Korean values, ethics, and other cultural traits such as kinship networks are translated into organizational structure and economic life.
Cultures of Yusin examines the turbulent and yet deeply formative years of Park Chung Hee’s rule in South Korea, focusing on the so-called Yusin era (1972–79). Beginning with the constitutional change that granted dictatorial powers to the president and ending with his assassination, Yusin was a period of extreme political repression coupled with widespread mobilization of the citizenry towards the statist gospel of modernization and development. While much has been written about the political and economic contours of this period, the rich complexity of its cultural production remains obscure. This edited volume brings together a wide range of scholars to explore literature, film, television, performance, music, and architecture, as well as practices of urban and financial planning, consumption, and homeownership. Examining the plural forms of culture’s relationship to state power, the authors illuminate the decade of the 1970s in South Korea and offer an essential framework for understanding contemporary Korean society.
In Curative Violence Eunjung Kim examines what the social and material investment in curing illnesses and disabilities tells us about the relationship between disability and Korean nationalism. Kim uses the concept of curative violence to question the representation of cure as a universal good and to understand how nonmedical and medical cures come with violent effects that are not only symbolic but also physical. Writing disability theory in a transnational context, Kim tracks the shifts from the 1930s to the present in the ways that disabled bodies and narratives of cure have been represented in Korean folktales, novels, visual culture, media accounts, policies, and activism. Whether analyzing eugenics, the management of Hansen's disease, discourses on disabled people's sexuality, violence against disabled women, or rethinking the use of disabled people as a metaphor for life under Japanese colonial rule or under the U.S. military occupation, Kim shows how the possibility of life with disability that is free from violence depends on the creation of a space and time where cure is seen as a negotiation rather than a necessity.
Since the Korean War began, Western families have adopted more than 200,000 Korean children. Two-thirds of these adoptees found homes in the United States. The majority joined white families and in the process forged a new kind of transnational and transracial kinship.Kimberly D. McKee examines the growth of the neo-colonial, multi-million dollar global industry that shaped these families--a system she identifies as the transnational adoption industrial complex. As she shows, an alliance of the South Korean welfare state, orphanages, adoption agencies, and American immigration laws powered transnational adoption between the two countries. Adoption became a tool to supplement an inadequate social safety net for South Korea's unwed mothers and low-income families. At the same time, it commodified children, building a market that allowed Americans to create families at the expense of loving, biological ties between Koreans. McKee also looks at how Christian Americanism, South Korean welfare policy, and other facets of adoption interact with and disrupt American perceptions of nation, citizenship, belonging, family, and ethnic identity.
In 2002, North Korea precipitated a major international crisis when it revealed the existence of a secret nuclear weapons program and announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Earlier in the year, George W. Bush had declared North Korea part of the “axis of evil,” and soon afterward his administration listed the country as a potential target of a preemptive nuclear strike. Pyongyang’s angry reaction ensured the complete deterioration of relations on the Korean peninsula, where only two years before the leaders of North and South Korea had come together in a historic summit meeting.
Few international conflicts are as volatile, protracted, or seemingly insoluble as the one in Korea, where mutual mistrust, hostile Cold War attitudes, and the possibility of a North Korean economic collapse threaten the security of the entire region. For Roland Bleiker, this persistently recurring pattern suggests profound structural problems within and between the two Koreas that have not been acknowledged until now. Expanding the discussion beyond geopolitics and ideology, Bleiker places peninsular tensions in the context of an ongoing struggle over competing forms of Korean identity. Divided Korea examines both domestic and international attitudes toward Korean identity, the legacy of war, and the possibilities for-and anxieties about-unification.
Divided Korea challenges the prevailing logic of confrontation and deterrence, embarking on a fundamental reassessment of both the roots of the conflict and the means to achieve a more stable political environment and, ultimately, peace. In order to realize a lasting solution, Bleiker concludes, the two Koreas and the international community must first show a willingness to accept difference and contemplate forgiveness as part of a broader reconciliation process.
Roland Bleiker is professor of international relations at the University of Queensland. From 1986 to 1988 he served as chief of office for the Swiss delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Panmunjom.
In recent years there has been a marked resurgence of interest in the effects of electoral laws on important aspects of politics such as party competition. In this volume, a distinguished group of scholars looks at the impact of one set of electoral rules--the single non-transferable vote--on electoral competition in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Under this plan citizens are allowed one vote even though there is more than one seat to be filled. In comparative studies of the adoption and rejection of the single nontransferable vote and the consequences of its use across different settings, the contributors explore the differences in the operation and effects of the application of the same rule in different countries. Arguing that any single feature of a political system is embedded in a political structure and cannot be understood in isolation, the authors demonstrate how the same rule can have different consequences depending on the context in which it operates. The contributors offer fresh insights into the comparative study of political institutions as well as into the operation of particular electoral rules.
In addition to the editors, the contributors include Kathleen Bawn, John Boland, Jean-Marie Bouissou, Gary Cox, John Fu-Sheng Hsieh, Arend Lijphart, Emerson Niou, Steven R. Reed, and Frances Rosenbluth, among others.
Bernard Grofman is Professor of Political Science, University of California at Irvine. Edwin A. Winckler is at the East Asian Institute, Columbia University. Brian Woodall is Assistant Professor in the School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology. Sung-Chull Lee is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California at Irvine.
The Korean War has been called the “forgotten war,” not as studied as World War II or Vietnam. Choi examines the collective memory of the Korean War through five discrete memory sites in the United States and South Korea, including the PBS documentary Battle for Korea, the Korean War Memorial in Salt Lake City, and the statue of General Douglas MacArthur in Incheon, South Korea. She contends that these sites are not static; rather, they are active places where countermemories of the war clash with the official state-sanctioned remembrance. Through lively and compelling analysis of these memory sites, which include two differing accounts of the No Gun Ri massacre\--contemporaneous journalism and oral histories by survivors\--Choi shows diverse narratives of the Korean War competing for dominance in acts of remembering. Embattled Memories is an important interdisciplinary work in two fields, memory studies and public history, from an understudied perspective, that of witnesses to the Korean War.
Entrepreneurial Seoulite might be read as a memoir on Hongdae based on the author’s observations as a member of South Korea’s Generation X. During the 1990’s, Hongdae became widely known as a cool place associated with discourses on alternative music, independent labels, and club culture. Today, Hongdae is well known for its youth culture and nightlife, as well as its gentrification.
Recent research on Korean culture approaches the K-wave phenomenon from the perspectives of cultural consumption, media analysis, and cultural management and policy. Meanwhile, studies on Seoul have centered on its transformation as a global, creative city. Rather than examining the K-wave or the city itself, this book explores the experience of living through the city-in-transition, focusing on the relationship between “the ideology that justified engagement in capitalism” and the “subjectification process.” The book aims to understand the project to institutionalize a cultural district in Hongdae as a demonstration of the coevolution of ideologies and citizenship in a society undergoing rapid liberalization—politically, culturally, and economically.
A cultural turn took place in Korea during the 1990s, amid the economic prosperity driven by state-led industrialization and the collapse of the military dictatorship due to democratization movements. Cultural critiques, emerging as an alternative to social movements, proliferated to assert the freedom and autonomy of individuals against regulatory systems and institutions. The nation was hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and witnessed massive economic restructuring including layoffs, stakeouts, and a prevalence of contingent employment. As a result, the entire nation had to find new engines of economic growth while experiencing a creative destruction. At the center of this national transformation, Seoul has sought to recreate itself from a mega city to a global city, equipped with cutting-edge knowledge industries and infrastructures.
By juxtaposing the cultural turn and cultural/creative city-making, Entrepreneurial Seoulite interrogates the formation of new citizen subjectivity, namely the enterprising self, in post-Fordist Seoul. What kinds of logic guide individuals in the engagement of new urban realities in rapidly liberalized Seoul—culturally and economically? In order to explore this query, Mihye Cho draws on Weber’s concept of “the spirit of capitalism” on the formation of a new economic agency focusing on the re-configuration of meanings, and seeks to capture a transformative moment detailing when and how capitalism requests a different spirit and lifestyle of its participants. Likewise, this book approaches the enterprising self as the new spirit of post-Fordist Seoul and explores the ways in which people in Seoul internalize and negotiate this new enterprising self.
FROM MIRACLE TO MATURITY
Barry Eichengreen Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress HC467.96.E43 2012 | Dewey Decimal 330.95195
South Korea was one of the poorest economies on the planet after the Korean War; by the twenty-first century, it had become a middle-income country, home to some of the world’s leading industrial corporations. From Miracle to Maturity offers an analysis of Korea’s remarkable economic growth and considers whether its economy is now underperforming.
Geopolitical Economy examines the significance and nature of free trade agreements (FTAs), the primary policy tool through which modern nations seek access to international markets and promote economic growth. The book focuses specifically on how South Korea, the world’s leader in the number and significance of FTAs as well as the world’s sixth largest export economy, uses FTAs.
Jonathan Krieckhaus argues that geopolitics—the struggle between powerful nations over specific geographic regions around the globe—influenced FTA strategy and economic policy in South Korea and beyond. This perspective illustrates the security approach to FTAs, but adds that the geographic specificity of security concerns deeply shape FTA policy.
Geopolitical Economy also looks at Korean FTAs through the lens of development strategy. South Korea is singularly successful in garnering FTAs with all three players in the global economy: the United States, the European Union, and China. This unprecedented success was built on a strong commitment from three consecutive Korean presidential administrations, each operating within a favorable state-society context that enjoyed the existence of a centralized and effective trade bureaucracy.
Collectively known as Hallyu, Korean music, television programs, films, online games, and comics enjoy global popularity, thanks to new communication technologies. In recent years, Korean popular culture has also become the subject of academic inquiry. Whereas the Hallyu’s impact on Korea’s national image and domestic economy, as well as on transnational cultural flows, have received much scholarly attention, there has been little discussion of the role of social media in Hallyu’s propagation.
Contributors to Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media explore the ways in which Korean popular cultural products are shared by audiences around the globe; how they generate new fans, markets, and consumers through social media networks; and how scholars can analyze, interpret, and envision the future of this unprecedented cultural phenomenon.
The first Korean adoptees were powerful symbols of American superiority in the Cold War; as Korean adoption continued, adoptees' visibility as Asians faded as they became a geopolitical success story—all-American children in loving white families. In Invisible Asians, Kim Park Nelson analyzes the processes by which Korean American adoptees’ have been rendered racially invisible, and how that invisibility facilitates their treatment as exceptional subjects within the context of American race relations and in government policies.
Invisible Asians draws on the life stories of more than sixty adult Korean adoptees in three locations: Minnesota, home to the largest concentration of Korean adoptees in the United States; the Pacific Northwest, where many of the first Korean adoptees were raised; and Seoul, home to hundreds of adult adoptees who have returned to South Korea to live and work. Their experiences underpin a critical examination of research and policy making about transnational adoption from the 1950s to the present day.
Park Nelson connects the invisibility of Korean adoptees to the ambiguous racial positioning of Asian Americans in American culture, and explores the implications of invisibility for Korean adoptees as they navigate race, culture, and nationality. Raised in white families, they are ideal racial subjects in support of the trope of “colorblindness” as a “cure for racism” in America, and continue to enjoy the most privileged legal status in terms of immigration and naturalization of any immigrant group, built on regulations created specifically to facilitate the transfer of foreign children to American families.
Invisible Asians offers an engaging account that makes an important contribution to our understanding of race in America, and illuminates issues of power and identity in a globalized world.
Over the past decade, Korean popular culture has become a global phenomenon. The "Korean Wave" of music, film, television, sports, and cuisine generates significant revenues and cultural pride in South Korea. The Korean Popular Culture Reader provides a timely and essential foundation for the study of "K-pop," relating the contemporary cultural landscape to its historical roots. The essays in this collection reveal the intimate connections of Korean popular culture, or hallyu, to the peninsula's colonial and postcolonial histories, to the nationalist projects of the military dictatorship, and to the neoliberalism of twenty-first-century South Korea. Combining translations of seminal essays by Korean scholars on topics ranging from sports to colonial-era serial fiction with new work by scholars based in fields including literary studies, film and media studies, ethnomusicology, and art history, this collection expertly navigates the social and political dynamics that have shaped Korean cultural production over the past century.
Contributors. Jung-hwan Cheon, Michelle Cho, Youngmin Choe, Steven Chung, Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, Stephen Epstein, Olga Fedorenko, Kelly Y. Jeong, Rachael Miyung Joo, Inkyu Kang, Kyu Hyun Kim, Kyung Hyun Kim, Pil Ho Kim, Boduerae Kwon, Regina Yung Lee, Sohl Lee, Jessica Likens, Roald Maliangkay, Youngju Ryu, Hyunjoon Shin, Min-Jung Son, James Turnbull, Travis Workman
Kyongju is South Korea's preeminent "culture city," an urban site rich with archaeological wonders that residents compare to those of Nara, Xian, and Rome. By examining these ancient objects in relation to the controversies that engulfed South Korea's high-speed railway line when it was first proposed in the 1990s, Kyongju Things offers a grounded and theoretically sophisticated account of South Korean development and citizenship in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Its sensitivity to issues of place, knowledge, and cultural heritage and its innovative use of network theory will be of interest to a wide range of scholars in anthropology, Asian studies, the history of science and technology, cultural geography, urban planning, and political science.
Robert Oppenheim is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
"A tale of South Korea's new politics involving antiquarians, weekend hikers, activists, and entrepreneurs, told with wit and theoretical sophistication."
---Laurel Kendall, Curator, Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History
"In Kyongju Things, Robert Oppenheim employs an innovative theoretical blend to insightfully illuminate the interactions of agency and objects in the making of a 'place.'"
---Roger L. Janelli, Professor Emeritus, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
"Kyongju Things is responsible, pathbreaking, and ambitious, with a stunning and welcoming introduction . . . Oppenheim calls upon a theoretical tool kit that allows him to productively re-think place, locality, technology, things, and subjectivity in ways that really do challenge the existing scholarship on South Korea. Kyongju Things will make a splash in Korean studies."
---Nancy Abelmann, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and author of Echoes of the Past, Epics of Dissent: A South Korean Social Movement
This pathbreaking study presents a feminist analysis of the politics of membership in the South Korean nation over the past four decades. Seungsook Moon examines the ambitious effort by which South Korea transformed itself into a modern industrial and militarized nation. She demonstrates that the pursuit of modernity in South Korea involved the construction of the anticommunist national identity and a massive effort to mold the populace into useful, docile members of the state. This process, which she terms “militarized modernity,” treated men and women differently. Men were mobilized for mandatory military service and then, as conscripts, utilized as workers and researchers in the industrializing economy. Women were consigned to lesser factory jobs, and their roles as members of the modern nation were defined largely in terms of biological reproduction and household management.
Moon situates militarized modernity in the historical context of colonialism and nationalism in the twentieth century. She follows the course of militarized modernity in South Korea from its development in the early 1960s through its peak in the 1970s and its decline after rule by military dictatorship ceased in 1987. She highlights the crucial role of the Cold War in South Korea’s militarization and the continuities in the disciplinary tactics used by the Japanese colonial rulers and the postcolonial military regimes. Moon reveals how, in the years since 1987, various social movements—particularly the women’s and labor movements—began the still-ongoing process of revitalizing South Korean civil society and forging citizenship as a new form of membership in the democratizing nation.
By June 1953 the Korean War, marked at the outset by extremely fluid advances and retreats up and down the peninsula, had settled into position warfare very near the original pre-war demarcation line between North and South Korea. At this point both sides were fighting to win a peace, to achieve incremental advantages that could be translated into gains at the peace negotiations in Panmunjom. These last days of the war saw savage battles for control of important local terrain features, and in the trench warfare of the Chorwon Valley a young U.S. Army lieutenant was assigned to lead an infantry company charged with holding Outpost Harry against a determined Chinese assault.
The battle devolved into hand-to-hand combat during a period of constant, intense fighting that lasted two days. The author, although seriously wounded that night, refused evacuation and remained on the hill to successfully lead his company in defense of the outpost. It wasn’t romantic; it wasn’t chivalrous; and many died or were badly wounded. Some of the survivors never fully overcame the mental and physical damage they suffered during the nightmare.
With this book, one of those scarred by that experience recounts the events of the battle and his lifelong efforts to deal with the residual horrors. The Korean Conflict may be called “the forgotten war” by some, but not by those who were on the front lines.
As the two billion YouTube views for “Gangnam Style” would indicate, South Korean popular culture has begun to enjoy new prominence on the global stage. Yet, as this timely new study reveals, the nation’s film industry has long been a hub for transnational exchange, producing movies that put a unique spin on familiar genres, while influencing world cinema from Hollywood to Bollywood.
Movie Migrations is not only an introduction to one of the world’s most vibrant national cinemas, but also a provocative call to reimagine the very concepts of “national cinemas” and “film genre.” Challenging traditional critical assumptions that place Hollywood at the center of genre production, Hye Seung Chung and David Scott Diffrient bring South Korean cinema to the forefront of recent and ongoing debates about globalization and transnationalism. In each chapter they track a different way that South Korean filmmakers have adapted material from foreign sources, resulting in everything from the Manchurian Western to The Host’s reinvention of the Godzilla mythos.
Spanning a wide range of genres, the book introduces readers to classics from the 1950s and 1960s Golden Age of South Korean cinema, while offering fresh perspectives on recent favorites like Oldboy and Thirst. Perfect not only for fans of Korean film, but for anyone curious about media in an era of globalization, Movie Migrations will give readers a new appreciation for the creative act of cross-cultural adaptation.
"Ever since the creators of the animated television show South Park turned their lovingly sardonic gaze on the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft for an entire episode, WoW's status as an icon of digital culture has been secure. My Life as a Night Elf Priest digs deep beneath the surface of that icon to explore the rich particulars of the World of Warcraft player's experience."
—Julian Dibbell, Wired
"World of Warcraft is the best representative of a significant new technology, art form, and sector of society: the theme-oriented virtual world. Bonnie Nardi's pioneering transnational ethnography explores this game both sensitively and systematically using the methods of cultural anthropology and aesthetics with intensive personal experience as a guild member, media teacher, and magical quest Elf."
—William Sims Bainbridge, author of The Warcraft Civilization and editor of Online Worlds
“Nardi skillfully covers all of the hot button issues that come to mind when people think of video games like World of Warcraft such as game addiction, sexism, and violence. What gives this book its value are its unexpected gems of rare and beautifully detailed research on less sensationalized topics of interest such as the World of Warcraft player community in China, game modding, the increasingly blurred line between play and work, and the rich and fascinating lives of players and player cultures. Nardi brings World of Warcraft down to earth for non-players and ties it to social and cultural theory for scholars. . . . the best ethnography of a single virtual world produced so far.”
—Lisa Nakamura, University of Illinois
World of Warcraft rapidly became one of the most popular online world games on the planet, amassing 11.5 million subscribers—officially making it an online community of gamers that had more inhabitants than the state of Ohio and was almost twice as populous as Scotland. It's a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO in gamer jargon, where each person controls a single character inside a virtual world, interacting with other people's characters and computer-controlled monsters, quest-givers, and merchants.
In My Life as a Night Elf Priest, Bonnie Nardi, a well-known ethnographer who has published extensively on how theories of what we do intersect with how we adopt and use technology, compiles more than three years of participatory research in Warcraft play and culture in the United States and China into this field study of player behavior and activity. She introduces us to her research strategy and the history, structure, and culture of Warcraft; argues for applying activity theory and theories of aesthetic experience to the study of gaming and play; and educates us on issues of gender, culture, and addiction as part of the play experience. Nardi paints a compelling portrait of what drives online gamers both in this country and in China, where she spent a month studying players in Internet cafes.
Bonnie Nardi has given us a fresh look not only at World of Warcraft but at the field of game studies as a whole. One of the first in-depth studies of a game that has become an icon of digital culture, My Life as a Night Elf Priest will capture the interest of both the gamer and the ethnographer.
Bonnie A. Nardi is an anthropologist by training and a professor in the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focus is the social implications of digital technologies. She is the author of A Small Matter of Programming: Perspectives on End User Computing and the coauthor of Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart and Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design.
The 2012 smash "Gangnam Style" by the Seoul-based rapper Psy capped the triumph of Hallyu , the Korean Wave of music, film, and other cultural forms that have become a worldwide sensation. Dal Yong Jin analyzes the social and technological trends that transformed South Korean entertainment from a mostly regional interest aimed at families into a global powerhouse geared toward tech-crazy youth. Blending analysis with insights from fans and industry insiders, Jin shows how Hallyu exploited a media landscape and dramatically changed with the 2008 emergence of smartphones and social media, designating this new Korean Wave as Hallyu 2.0. Hands-on government support, meanwhile, focused on creative industries as a significant part of the economy and turned intellectual property rights into a significant revenue source. Jin also delves into less-studied forms like animation and online games, the significance of social meaning in the development of local Korean popular culture, and the political economy of Korean popular culture and digital technologies in a global context.
The Los Angeles riots shattered Korean immigrants’ naive belief in the American dream. As many as 2,300 Korean shopkeepers lost their lifetime investments in one day. Korean immigrants had struggled for years to become economically independent through small businesses of their own. However, the riots made them realize how fragile their economic base is because their businesses are dependent on the impoverished, oppressed, and rebellious classes.
In On My Own, In-Jin Yoon combines an intimate fieldwork account of Korean-black relations in Chicago and Los Angeles with extensive quantitative analysis at the national level. Yoon argues that a complete understanding of the contemporary Korean-American community requires systematic analyses of patterns of Korean immigration, entrepreneurship, and race relations with other minority groups. He explains how small business has become the major economic activity of Korean immigrants and how Korean businesses in minority neighborhoods have intensified racial tensions between Koreans and minorities like blacks and Latinos.
“A groundbreaking study of Korean-black relations. Yoon’s insights on immigration, entrepreneurship, and race relations significantly enhance our understanding of urban racial tensions.”—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
For South Koreans, the early 1960s to late 1970s were the best and worst of times—a period of unprecedented economic growth and deepening political oppression. Carter J. Eckert finds the roots of this dramatic socioeconomic transformation in the country’s long history of militarization, personified in South Korea’s paramount leader, Park Chung Hee.
The Park Chung Hee Era
Byung-Kook Kim Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS922.35.P336 2011 | Dewey Decimal 951.95043092
In 1959 South Korea was mired in poverty. By 1979, it had a powerful industrial economy and a vibrant civil society that led to democracy eight years later. This volume examines the transformation as a study in the politics of modernization, contextualizing many historical ambiguities in South Korea’s trajectory toward sustainable economic growth.
What role did civil society play in Korea's recent democratization? How does the Korean case compare with cases from other regions of the world? What is the current status of Korean democratic consolidation? What are the prospects for Korean democracy?
In December 1997, for the first time in the history of South Korea (hereafter Korea), an opposition candidate was elected to the presidency. Korea became the first new democracy in Asia where a horizontal transfer of power occurred through the electoral process. Sunhyuk Kim's study of democratization in Korea argues that the momentum for political change in Korea has consistently emanated from oppositional civil society rather than from the state. He develops a civil society paradigm and utilizes Korea’s three authoritarian breakdowns (only two of which resulted in democratic transitions) to illustrate the past and present influences of Korean civil society groups on authoritarian breakdowns, democratic transitions, and post-transition democratic consolidations.
One of the first systematic attempts to apply a civil society framework to a democratizing country in East Asia, The Politics of Democratization in Korea will be of use to political scientists and advanced undergraduate and graduate students working in comparative politics, political theory, East Asian politics, and the politics of democratization.
Composed of a core set of two drums and two gongs, p’ungmul is a South Korean tradition of rural folk percussion. Steeped in music, dance, theater, and pageantry, but centrally focused on rhythm, such ensembles have been an integral part of village life in South Korea for centuries, serving as a musical accompaniment in the often overlapping and shifting contexts of labor, ritual, and entertainment.
The first book to introduce Korean drumming and dance to the English-speaking world, Nathan Hesselink’s P’ungmul offers detailed descriptions of its instrumentation, dance formations, costuming, actors, teaching lineages, and the complexities of training. Hesselink also evaluates how this tradition has taken on new roles and meanings in the twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, investigating the interrelated yet contested spheres of history, memory, government policy, grassroots politics, opportunities for musical transmission, and performance practices and aesthetics.
P’ungmul offers those interested in ethnomusicology, world music, anthropology, sociology, and Asian studies a special glimpse into the inner workings of a historically rich, artistically complex, and aesthetically and aurally beautiful Korean musical and dance tradition.
Todd A. Henry, editor Duke University Press, 2020 Library of Congress HQ75.16.K6H467 2019
Since the end of the nineteenth century, the Korean people have faced successive waves of foreign domination, authoritarian regimes, forced dispersal, and divided development. Throughout these turbulent times, “queer” Koreans were ignored, minimized, and erased in narratives of their modern nation, East Asia, and the wider world. This interdisciplinary volume challenges such marginalization through critical analyses of non-normative sexuality and gender variance. Considering both personal and collective forces, contributors extend individualized notions of queer neoliberalism beyond those typically set in Western queer theory. Along the way, they recount a range of illuminating topics, from shamanic rituals during the colonial era and B-grade comedy films under Cold War dictatorship to toxic masculinity in today’s South Korean military and transgender confrontations with the resident registration system. More broadly, Queer Korea offers readers new ways of understanding the limits and possibilities of human liberation under exclusionary conditions of modernity in Asia and beyond.
Contributors. Pei Jean Chen, John (Song Pae) Cho, Chung-kang Kim, Timothy Gitzen, Todd A. Henry, Merose Hwang, Ruin, Layoung Shin, Shin-ae Ha, John Whittier Treat
Rediscovering Korean Cinema
Sangjoon Lee, Editor University of Michigan Press, 2019 Library of Congress PN1993.5.K6R43 2019 | Dewey Decimal 791.43095195
South Korean cinema is a striking example of non-Western contemporary cinematic success. Thanks to the increasing numbers of moviegoers and domestic films produced, South Korea has become one of the world’s major film markets. In 2001, the South Korean film industry became the first in recent history to reclaim its domestic market from Hollywood and continues to maintain around a 50 percent market share today. High-quality South Korean films are increasingly entering global film markets and connecting with international audiences in commercial cinemas and art theatres, and at major international film festivals. Despite this growing recognition of the films themselves, Korean cinema’s rich heritage has not heretofore received significant scholarly attention in English-language publications.
This groundbreaking collection of thirty-five essays by a wide range of academic specialists situates current scholarship on Korean cinema within the ongoing theoretical debates in contemporary global film studies. Chapters explore key films of Korean cinema, from Sweet Dream, Madame Freedom, The Housemaid, and The March of Fools to Oldboy, The Host, and Train to Busan, as well as major directors such as Shin Sang-ok, Kim Ki-young, Im Kwon-taek, Bong Joon-ho, Hong Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, and Lee Chang-dong. While the chapters provide in-depth analyses of particular films, together they cohere into a detailed and multidimensional presentation of Korean cinema’s cumulative history and broader significance.
With its historical and critical scope, abundance of new research, and detailed discussion of important individual films, Rediscovering Korean Cinema is at once an accessible classroom text and a deeply informative compendium for scholars of Korean and East Asian studies, cinema and media studies, and communications. It will also be an essential resource for film industry professionals and anyone interested in international cinema.
Until the late twentieth century, the majority of foreign-born children adopted in the United States came from Korea. In the absorbing book Reframing Transracial Adoption, Kristi Brian investigates the power dynamics at work between the white families, the Korean adoptees, and the unknown birth mothers. Brian conducts interviews with adult adopted Koreans, adoptive parents, and adoption agency facilitators in the United States to explore the conflicting interpretations of race, culture, multiculturalism, and family.
Brian argues for broad changes as she critiques the so-called "colorblind" adoption policy in the United States. Analyzing the process of kinship formation, the racial aspects of these adoptions, and the experience of adoptees, she reveals the stifling impact of dominant nuclear-family ideologies and the crowded intersections of competing racial discourses.
Brian finds a resolution in the efforts of adult adoptees to form coherent identities and launch powerful adoption reform movements.
In one of the first English-language studies of Korean cinema to date, Kyung Hyun Kim shows how the New Korean Cinema of the past quarter century has used the trope of masculinity to mirror the profound sociopolitical changes in the country. Since 1980, South Korea has transformed from an insular, authoritarian culture into a democratic and cosmopolitan society. The transition has fueled anxiety about male identity, and amid this tension, empowerment has been imagined as remasculinization. Kim argues that the brutality and violence ubiquitous in many Korean films is symptomatic of Korea’s on-going quest for modernity and a post-authoritarian identity.
Kim offers in-depth examinations of more than a dozen of the most representative films produced in Korea since 1980. In the process, he draws on the theories of Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow, and Kaja Silverman to follow the historical trajectory of screen representations of Korean men from self-loathing beings who desire to be controlled to subjects who are not only self-sufficient but also capable of destroying others. He discusses a range of movies from art-house films including To the Starry Island (1993) and The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (1996) to higher-grossing, popular films like Whale Hunting (1984) and Shiri (1999). He considers the work of several Korean auteurs—Park Kwang-su, Jang Sun-woo, and Hong Sang-su. Kim argues that Korean cinema must begin to imagine gender relations that defy the contradictions of sexual repression in order to move beyond such binary struggles as those between the traditional and the modern, or the traumatic and the post-traumatic.
Hyung K. Shin was sixteen years old when the North Korean army invaded South Korea in June 1950. Fleeing his home, Shin soon found himself alone in Pusan, a refugee without resources or any means of support. To save himself from destitution, he lied about his age and volunteered for service in the South Korean army. Shin’s account of the months that followed is a moving record of the Korean War from the perspective of an ordinary ROK soldier. He recounts his hasty training and subsequent experiences as a battlefield soldier in North Korea, as a guard in a prisoner-of-war camp, and as a refugee again in the massive flight of civilians and ROK military personnel retreating before the onslaught of the Chinese invasion. Through it all, Shin struggles to retain his humanity and pursue his education. In the process, the naïve schoolboy becomes a man. Today, Hyung K. Shin is an internationally respected chemist, but in the pages of this memoir he carries us back to Korea during a pivotal moment in that country’s history. This is the first account in English that describes the war from the perspective of a Korean who lived through and fought in it. Shin’s detailed and lively narrative is a stirring monument to the survival of human decency and kindness in the midst of terror, cruelty, despair, and the destruction of a proud nation.
An epoch-marking alliance of laborers, students, dissident intellectuals, and ordinary citizens was at the heart of South Korea’s transformation from a dictatorship into a vibrant democracy during the 1980s. Collectively known as the minjung (“the people”), these agents of Korean democratization historically carved out an expanded role for civil society in the country’s politics. In Revisiting Minjung, some of the foremost experts in 1980s Korean history, literature, film, art, and music provide new insights into one of the most crucial decades in South Korean history. Drawing from the theoretical perspectives of transnationalism, post-Marxist studies, intersectional feminism, popular culture studies, and more, the volume demonstrates how an era that is often associated with radical politics was, in effect, the catalyst for the subsequent flourishing of democratic and liberal values in South Korea.
Revisiting Minjung brings new themes, new subjectivities, and new theoretical perspectives to the study of the rich ecosystem of 1980s Korean culture. Treated here is a wide array of topics, including the origins of minjung ideology, its critique by the right wing, minjung art and music, workers’ literary culture, women writers and the resurgence of feminism, erotic cinema, science fiction, transnational political travels, and the representations of race and queerness in 1980s popular culture. The book thus details the origins and development of some of the movements that shape cultural life in South Korea today, and it does so through analyses that engage some of the most pressing debates in current scholarship in Korea and abroad.
In 1978, four musicians crowded into a cramped basement theater in downtown Seoul, where they, for the first time, brought the rural percussive art of p’ungmul to a burgeoning urban audience. In doing so, they began a decades-long reinvention of tradition, one that would eventually create an entirely new genre of music and a national symbol for Korean culture.
Nathan Hesselink’s SamulNori traces this reinvention through the rise of the Korean supergroup of the same name, analyzing the strategies the group employed to transform a museum-worthy musical form into something that was both contemporary and historically authentic, unveiling an intersection of traditional and modern cultures and the inevitable challenges such a mix entails. Providing everything from musical notation to a history of urban culture in South Korea to an analysis of SamulNori’s teaching materials and collaborations with Euro-American jazz quartet Red Sun, Hesselink offers a deeply researched study that highlights the need for traditions—if they are to survive—to embrace both preservation and innovation.
Service Economies presents an alternative narrative of South Korean modernity by examining how working-class labor occupies a central space in linking the United States and Asia to South Korea's changing global position from a U.S. neocolony to a subempire.
Making surprising and revelatory connections, Jin-kyung Lee analyzes South Korean military labor in the Vietnam War, domestic female sex workers, South Korean prostitution for U.S. troops, and immigrant/migrant labor from Asia in contemporary South Korea. Foregrounding gender, sexuality, and race, Lee reimagines the South Korean economic "miracle" as a global and regional articulation of industrial, military, and sexual proletarianization.
Lee not only addresses these under-studied labors individually but also integrates and unites them to reveal an alternative narrative of a changing South Korean working class whose heterogeneity is manifested in its objectification. Delving into literary and popular cultural sources as well as sociological work, Lee locates South Korean development in its military and economic interactions with the United States and other Asian nation-states, offering a unique perspective on how these practices have shaped and impacted U.S.-South Korea relations.
The dramatic advancement of cellphone technology has fundamentally changed our daily lives. Smartphones and their applications have created new capital for information and communication technology corporations and changed the way people communicate. Because of an interesting awareness of the significance for digital economy and people’s daily culture, many countries, from the U.S. to China, have massively invested in the smartphone industries since the early 21st century. Among them, South Korea has become one of the centers for technology development and digital culture, although the country was once lagging behind in the penetration of the phones and their apps. Yet within the last few years, the country has taken a big step toward their goal of becoming a ‘mobile game wonderland’ by appropriating smartphones and it now exists as a curious test-bed for the future of smartphone technology. Smartland Korea, as the first attempt to comprehensively analyze mobile communication in the context of Korean smartphones, looks into a largely neglected focus of inquiry, a localized mobile landscape, with particular reference to young Koreans’ engagement with their devices and applications. Dal Yong Jin focuses not only on the celebratory achievement of technological advancement, but also the significance of social milieu in the development of the smartphones. He situates the emergence of smartphones within the growth of mobile technologies and overall telecommunications industries embedded in Korea’s information and communication technologies. The book examines the technology’s innovation and the evolution, the digital economy through the lens of political economy, and the youth culture embedded in the Korean smartphone context.
South Koreans in the Debt Crisis is a detailed examination of the logic underlying the neoliberal welfare state that South Korea created in response to the devastating Asian Debt Crisis (1997–2001). Jesook Song argues that while the government proclaimed that it would guarantee all South Koreans a minimum standard of living, it prioritized assisting those citizens perceived as embodying the neoliberal ideals of employability, flexibility, and self-sufficiency. Song demonstrates that the government was not alone in drawing distinctions between the “deserving” and the “undeserving” poor. Progressive intellectuals, activists, and organizations also participated in the neoliberal reform project. Song traces the circulation of neoliberal concepts throughout South Korean society, among government officials, the media, intellectuals, NGO members, and educated underemployed people working in public works programs. She analyzes the embrace of partnerships between NGOs and the government, the frequent invocation of a pervasive decline in family values, the resurrection of conservative gender norms and practices, and the promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to survival.
Drawing on her experience during the crisis as an employee in a public works program in Seoul, Song provides an ethnographic assessment of the efforts of the state and civilians to regulate social insecurity, instability, and inequality through assistance programs. She focuses specifically on efforts to help two populations deemed worthy of state subsidies: the “IMF homeless,” people temporarily homeless but considered employable, and the “new intellectuals,” young adults who had become professionally redundant during the crisis but had the high-tech skills necessary to lead a transformed post-crisis South Korea.
South Korea is home to one of the most vibrant film industries in the world today, producing movies for a strong domestic market that are also drawing the attention of audiences worldwide. This book presents a comprehensive analysis of some of the most well-known and incendiary South Korean films of the millennial decade from nine major directors. Building his analysis on contemporary film theory and philosophy, as well as interviews and other primary sources, Steve Choe makes a case that these often violent films pose urgent ethical dilemmas central to life in the age of neoliberal globalization.
This book is about ardent Korean female fans of gay representation in the media, their status in contemporary Korean society, their relationship with other groups such as the gay population, and, above all, their contribution to reshaping the Korean media’s portrayal of gay people. Jungmin Kwon names the Korean female fandom for gay portrayals as “FANtasy” subculture, and argues that it adds to the present visibility of the gay body in Korean mainstream media, thus helping to change the public’s perspective toward sexually marginalized groups.
The FANtasy subculture started forming around text-based media, such as yaoi, fan fiction, and U.S. gay-themed dramas (like Will & Grace), and has been influenced by diverse social, political, and economic conditions, such as the democratization of Korea, an open policy toward foreign media products, the diffusion of consumerism, government investment in the culture, the Hollywoodization of the film industry, and the popularity of Korean culture abroad. While much scholarly attention has been paid to female fandom for homoerotic cultural texts in many countries, this book seeks to explore a relatively neglected aspect of the subculture: its location in and influence on Korean society at large.
In Tourist Distractions Youngmin Choe uses hallyu (Korean-wave) cinema as a lens to examine the relationships among tourism and travel, economics, politics, and history in contemporary East Asia. Focusing on films born of transnational collaboration and its networks, Choe shows how the integration of the tourist imaginary into hallyu cinema points to the region's evolving transnational politics and the ways Korea negotiates its colonial and Cold War past with East Asia's neoliberal present. Hallyu cinema's popularity has inspired scores of international tourists to visit hallyu movie sets, filming sites, and theme parks. This tourism helps ease regional political differences; reimagine South Korea's relationships with North Korea, China, and Japan; and blur the lines between history, memory, affect, and consumerism. It also provides distractions from state-sponsored narratives and forges new emotional and economic bonds that foster community and cooperation throughout East Asia. By attending to the tourist imaginary at work in hallyu cinema, Choe helps us to better understand the complexities, anxieties, and tensions of East Asia's new affective economy as well as Korea's shifting culture industry, its relation to its past, and its role in a rapidly changing region.
In Transnational Korean Cinema author Dal Yong Jin explores the interactions of local and global politics, economics, and culture to contextualize the development of Korean cinema and its current place in an era of neoliberal globalization and convergent digital technologies.
The book emphasizes the economic and industrial aspects of the story, looking at questions on the interaction of politics and economics, including censorship and public funding, and provides a better view of the big picture by laying bare the relationship between film industries, the global market, and government. Jin also sheds light on the operations and globalization strategies of Korean film industries alongside changing cultural policies in tandem with Hollywood’s continuing influences in order to comprehend the power relations within cultural politics, nationally and globally. This is the first book to offer a full overview of the nascent development of Korean cinema.
The Will to Win focuses on the substantial role of US military advisors to the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) from 1946 until 1953 in one of America’s early attempts at nation building.
Gibby describes ROKA’s structure, mission, challenges, and successes, thereby linking the South Korean army and their US advisors to the traditional narrative of this “forgotten war.” The work also demonstrates the difficulties inherent in national reconstruction, focusing on barriers in culture and society, and the effects of rapid decolonization combined with intense nationalism and the appeal of communism to East Asia following the destruction of the Japanese empire. Key conclusions include the importance of individual advisors, the significance of the prewar advisory effort, and the depth of the impact these men had on individual Korean units and in a few cases on the entire South Korean army.
The success or failure of South Korean government in the decade following the end of World War II hinged on the loyalty, strength, and fighting capability of its army, which in turn relied on its American advisors. Gibby argues that without a proficient ROKA, the 1953 armistice, still in effect today, would not have been possible. He reexamines the Korean conflict from its beginning in 1945—particularly Korean politics, military operations, and armed forces—and demonstrates the crucial role the American military advisory program and personnel played to develop a more competent and reliable Korean army.
This collection presents new research on the changing roles of women in Japan and Korea. At a time when women in these two countries are becoming more politically and socially prominent, these essays provide insight into the clashes that have arisen between tradition and change. The contributors compare similarities and differences in the two cultures, considering family life, education, health care, work, reproductive and legal rights, and political participation, including the rise of women's movements in Asia and the battle against sexism and gender stereotyping. Essays written by Japanese and Korean women, leading social scientists and practitioners, illuminate the current political, economic, and social status of women in Japan and Korea.