Negotiating Identities: The Experiences of Korean Americans in South Korea : 한국에 거주하는 재미교포의 정체성 협상 경험에 관한 연구

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국제대학원 국제학과
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서울대학교 국제대학원
return migrationethnic identitysecond generation Korean American
학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 국제대학원 : 국제학과(국제협력전공), 2015. 8. 은기수.
In recent decades, the number of diasporic descendants returning to their ancestral homelands has increased significantly. In accordance with the current growth of return migration, scholars are increasingly beginning to document the experiences of various kinds of return migrants. In line with this trend, this study examines of Korean Americans who have returned to their ancestral homeland, South Korea. Specifically, this study focuses on exploring their return motives, experiences in South Korea, and how these experiences affect their ethnic identities, and sense of belonging. For this, 17 second generation Korean Americans who voluntarily returned to Korea individually as young adults were selected through snowballing sampling, and semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out. The major findings of this study are as follows:
Korean Americans return to South Korea with the purpose of finding suitable jobs, or pursuing higher education. However, they are not returning to their ancestral homelands simply for economic, and educational opportunities. The desire to reconnect with their ethnic roots, and explore cultural heritage strongly figure in their return decisions. Such motives are essentially associated with their yearnings for a more stable ethnic identity, and belonging. However, their self-identity as Korean becomes challenged and problematized upon their arrivals in the ancestral homeland. According to data from the interviews, the returnees are often ethnically excluded as a cultural stranger due to their lack of linguistic and cultural competencies, and become subject to certain stereotypes and prejudices in everyday life. Furthermore, as they experience various cultural differences, they come to recognize the fundamental differences between themselves, and Koreans born and raised in South Korea. Facing unexpected challenges, Korean American returnees renegotiate their ethnic identities. Eventually, they realize that they are not fully Korean, and reaffirm Korean American (Jaemigyopo) identities.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Theses (Master's Degree_국제학과)
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