Abstract

This article discusses the production of “mixed-race” subjectivity in South Korea. It asks: how can we understand the lived experiences and histories of mixed-race people as integral to the logic of national governance, both past and present? Instead of regarding mixed-race people in Korea as an aberration or regrettable phenomenon, this article contends that their “otherness” is an outcome of the intensions, contradictions, and insecurities of national governance which coheres around discourse and legislation on the family. The testimony of various mixed-race people living in Korea reveals the racial, gendered, and sexual discursive modalities through which they were rendered outside the scope and meaning of Koreanness. Their testimony also corresponds with the discursive limits set forth by the government, particularly in the establishment of laws that govern desired familial relations within the climate of Cold War militarism, industrialization, and the post-democratization era of globalization and official multiculturalism. The longstanding and still practiced abjection of mixed-race people from South Korean society cannot be understood without exploring the intersection between a racial politics of “blood purity” and a gendered politics of patriarchy that works in service of an imagined Korean homogeneity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 56-85
Launched on MUSE
2009-02-13
Open Access
No
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