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The adoption issue in Korea: Diaspora politics in the age of globalization
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Oriental Languages, Division of Korean Studies.
2002 (English)In: 7th Korean Studies Graduate Student Conference, 2002Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

After the Korean war 150,000 Koreans from South Korea have been adopted to Western countries. Still every year around 2000 children leave the country for overseas adoption. Western military engagement in the war started the history of adoption as the first children who were sent overseas were bi-racial. No other country in the world has sent away so many children for adoption as the R.O.K. From the 1860s when the Choson dynasty crumbled as a result of Western imperialism, and especially during Japanese colonial rule, Koreans emigrated or were forcefully transported abroad in the thousands establishing a tradition of displacement. The mass emigration continued during the authoritarian regimes, creating a diaspora which today numbers 5 million ethnic Koreans. Since the end of the 1980s when adoption became an open issue in the country after years of shame and secretiveness, adopted Koreans have been treated as a diasporic community of Korean ethnicity. This is truly evident when studying the media and the acts of the government during Kim Dae-jung´s presidency. Even if the existence of the adopted Koreans was hidden for many years, today they play a role in the globalization of Korea. The adoption from South Korea is viewed as a result of a colonial history and a sign of the country´s dependency to the West. The adopted Koreans are seen as one of the most extreme results of modern Korean history and a symbol of a divided, dispersed and postcolonial nation which is in the process of creating a new ethnonationalism embracing all Koreans on the peninsula and overseas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
international adoption, Korea, nationalism
National Category
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21535OAI: diva2:188062
Available from: 2006-04-09 Created: 2006-04-09Bibliographically approved

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