New "Citizens" and Multiculturalism in Korea
Kim, Youngok, Women in Action
How do we begin to co-exist with "the Others"
Nowadays, we can see tremendous growth of multinational capital, developments in information and transportation, and intense mobility of people on the global level. In the transnational and translocational context that this global mobility has brought about, we can also see the weakening of the state as a community in which political concerns decrease, and the welfare systems dwindle. At the same time, demands for the recognition of national, ethnic, and religious identities are growing more than ever. This contradicting and conflicting structure, which revealed its worst aspects in the 9/11 tragedy, has has questioned the existing liberal arguments on the justice of redistribution, and invoked new concerns on the politics of difference as well as the politics of recognition. Korean society, which too has been experiencing, albeit reluctantly, a rapid change into a multi-ethnic and multinational society, is also struggling around the issues of difference and redistribution.
Since a few years ago, foreign migrants have attracted a great deal of attention. They started to come en masse to Korea as 'industry trainees' in 1991, and then as foreign immigrant brides, mostly from Southeast Asia in 2000. According to the statistics from the Ministry of Justice, the number of foreign migrants living in Korea is more than 910,000 as of 2006. As employment markets, marriage markets, and even areas of intimacy and caretaking are being restructured on the global level (Constable, 2005; Parrenas, 2001; Ehrenreich & Hochschild, 2002; Kim, 2006), Korean society is also going through some of the typical phenomena of globalisation.
The growth of feminist consciousness in Korea, which has been actively promoted not only as a knowledge production but also as a social movement for the last three decades, has resulted in the growth of women's desire for employment. Moreover, the neo-liberal notion of agency, which implies self-improvement and self-governance (Ong, 2007), and the changes in the labour market, including the growing …
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Publication information: Article title: New "Citizens" and Multiculturalism in Korea. Contributors: Kim, Youngok - Author. Magazine title: Women in Action. Issue: 3 Publication date: December 2007. Page number: 40+. © 2008 Isis International. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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