Class, Gender, Family in Korea

This course aims to allow students to learn about Korea using the three focuses of class, gender, and family. Reading ethnographic literature will be a tool to understand how class, gender, and family have been formed in Korea. Korea has transformed from one of the world's poorest agriculturally based countries to a postindustrial country in a very short time period. More than 80% of the entire population redefined itself as middle class, which shows Korean people's strong desire for upward mobility. Family has played an important role in realizing upward mobility and forming a middle-class identity. The gender-division of labor based on the separation between public and private spheres has functioned as an effective system for fast economic development while deepening gender discrimination. Marginalization of women has resulted in the abnormal growth of the private sphere where an extremely competitive education system and real estate speculation have been formed as family strategies for upward mobility. The particularity of Korean modernity can be found in the process of the interwoven formation of class, gender, and family.

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Spring 2018

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