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The Korean adoption issue: Images of adopted Koreans in Korean media and popular culture
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Oriental Languages, Division of Korean Studies.
2003 (English)In: Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde e.V. 2003: Methoden und Ansätze zur qualitativen Datenanalyse, 2003Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper deals with international adoption from Korea. The forced migration of Korean children has by now been going on for over half a century creating a diaspora of 150,000 adopted Koreans divided between 15 main host countries. Both the number and the time span are unique in the history of child migration, and still 2000 children leave Korea annually. The paper will go through the various stages of international adoption from Korea reflecting the upheavals and turbulences of modern Korean history. The massive uprooting and dispersal of Korean children was for many years silently taking place in the shadow of Korea’s transformation from a war-torn and poverty-stricken country to an economic success story in the postcolonial world, and it wasn’t until 1988 that the subject became a public issue. In 1988, Korea became the showcase of the world during the summer Olympics in Seoul. Western journalists suddenly started to write about the international adoption program and portrayed Korea as the world’s leading child exporting country. The unexpected attention was painful and humiliating for a newly democratised and industrialised Korea who had to face the fact of being the country in the world having sent away the largest number of its citizens for international adoption in history. Thus, the Korean society was finally forced to start to discuss the subject in public, and from then on the adoption issue (ibyang munjê) has appeared as a recurrent subject in Korean media and popular culture. The paper aims at examining images of adopted Koreans as they are perceived and conceptualised in a Korean context. How are adopted Koreans imagined in Korea, and what are the issues brought up with the background of Korean nationalism and diaspora politics? What is the role of the adopted Koreans in contemporary Korea with regard to on-going processes of globalisation and reunification? The study is carried out by the use of discourse analysis of articles published in the newspapers Chosun Ilbo, Hankyoreh and Kookmin Ilbo supplemented by popular cultural artefacts as primary sources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
international adoption, media, popular culture, Korea
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21845OAI: diva2:188372
Available from: 2006-04-09 Created: 2006-04-09Bibliographically approved

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