Since the early 1990s, there has been a critical shortage of marriageable women in farming and fishing villages in Korea. This shortage, which has become a major social problem, resulted from a mass exodus of Korean women to cities and industrial zones. Korea's efforts to give rural bachelors a chance to marry have succeeded in providing 120,146 brides from 123 countries. However, the Korean government has proven to be ill-prepared to deal with the problems that foreign brides have encountered: family squabbles, prejudice, discrimination, divorce, suicide, and many adversities. The UN Commission on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination warned Korea to stop mistreatment of foreign brides and their children, those of so-called mixed blood, on account of human rights violations.
This book comprehensively covers Korean multiculturalism, with a focus on the foreign brides. In a two-pronged ethnographic approach, it offers a historical account of Korean immigration and naturalization, while also relating that past to the contemporary situation. As more and more people cross national boundaries, this detailed description of Korean multiculturalism serves as a valuable case study for an increasingly globalized world. Kim tells the stories of these voiceless women in a compassionate manner.
Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 20 mm
Anthropologist Kim (president, Cyber Univ. of Korea; emer., Univ. of Tennessee) explores the experiences of non-Korean women married to male citizens of the Republic of Korea and places them in the context of historical traditions that, in contrast to the current dominant narrative of a single ethnographic nation, emphasize Korea's openness to the world. Kim tellingly observes that discussions of multiculturalism in South Korea focus on multicultural families rather than on broader social issues. The case histories of the foreign brides, which are drawn from the author's participation in the e-Learning Campaign for Multicultural Families conducted by the Cyber University of Korea, introduce interesting patterns of intra-Asian migration. Rural men who have encountered difficulties in obtaining wives in an era of rapid urbanization have relied on marriage brokers to recruit Chinese, Vietnamese, and other Asian women eager to make economically advantageous marriages. Foreign brides now number well over 100,000. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE *
Choong Soon Kim's work is a timely study on the development of a multicultural society in South Korea. . . .Kim's book as an ethnohistorical, ethnographic work greatly contributes to the existing work on multiculturalism in Korea. * The Historian *
Kim's latest book is a ground-breaking masterpiece. His argument that Korea has become a multicultured society despite the myth of its homogeneity is fascinating, informative, and persuasive. It is valuable reading for anyone interested in ethnic studies and must reading for students of contemporary Korean culture. -- Kendall Blanchard, Georgia Southwestern State University
Choong Soon Kim's Voices of Foreign Brides is as much a thought-provoking study of multiculturalism (in a country not known for its attention to cultural differences) as it is a rich, nuanced, and engrossing chronicle of the many Chinese and Southeast Asian women recruited by the Korean government to marry rural Korean men. With compelling ethnographic descriptions, Kim describes the dilemma of both the rural bachelors left behind as women flock to cities and the plight of these new immigrants. In the process, Kim sheds new light on the conflict between Korea's imagined homogeneity and its real cultural and ethnic diversity. -- Roy Richard Grinker, The George Washington University
Kim's is the seasoned voice of mature observer of Korea. Through the voices of `foreign brides,' Kim interrogates Korea's foundational myths. This intellectual odyssey invites us to observe a transforming South Korea through new eyes. -- Nancy Abelmann, Harry E. Preble Professor of Anthropology, Asian American Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures