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Making and Faking KinshipMarriage and Labor Migration between China and South Korea$
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Caren Freeman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449581

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449581.001.0001

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A Failed National Experiment?

A Failed National Experiment?

(p.227) 6 A Failed National Experiment?
Making and Faking Kinship

Caren Freeman

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the impact of the 1997 Asian financial crisis on marriage and migration trends in the region. The precipitous economic downturn, financial collapse, and subsequent draconian restructuring agreement imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested to the Chosŏnjok the seeming fragility of South Korea's standing in the economic world order. In response, Chosŏnjok migrants have sought what they consider to be more stable parts of the world, such as Japan, to carry out their strategies of transnational marriage and mobility. South Korean men, meanwhile, have turned primarily to Southeast Asia as an alternative source of foreign brides. In thinking about the implications of these geographic shifts and the unprecedented departure from notions of ethnic endogamy and homogeneity they appear to signal, the chapter offers some final thoughts on transnational kinship making (and faking) as an arena in which people confront, contest, reproduce, and rework understandings about national belonging, their kinship and gender relations, and their place in the shifting global order.

Keywords:   Chosŏnjok migrants, Chosŏnjok women, 1997 Asian financial crisis, migration, transnational marriage, South Korea, family, kinship

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