The Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York City

By Kyeyoung Park | Go to book overview

Korean immigrants have constructed and elaborated the ideology of anjŏng in order to realize their American dream. They develop a detailed scenario for how the ideology of can be materialized. In this quest, each Korean immigrant succeeds in convincing him or herself that involvement in small business activities is the path to the American dream. In short, immigrant ideology plays an active role as a conscious, mobilizing force. Furthermore, this new ideology contributes to the overall transformation of immigrant life. Anjong channels immigrant cultural processes in family and kinship organization, gender roles, ethnicity, politics, and religion. It reformulates both thinking and practice. In summary, the anjŏng ideology causes immigrants to organize their lives in a way entirely different from their previous existence in Korea.

Small business activities today are a symbol, perhaps the key symbol, of Korean American identity and success. But today, some Korean immigrants are considering the warning from the overconfident rabbit in the race with the turtle. They find it necessary to reassess the Korean American dream. As they experience life in America, Korean Americans create new identities, new cultural forms, and new ideologies. Ultimately, through these acts of creation, they reshape American dreams.

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