Mixed-Race Politics and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in South Korean Media

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs on 2019-04-08 18:13Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Politics and Neoliberal Multiculturalism in South Korean Media

Palgrave Macmillan
2018
231 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-65773-8
Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-88102-7
eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-65774-5

Ji-Hyun Ahn, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington, Tacoma

  • The first monograph to examine mixed-race politics in contemporary South Korean media
  • Utilizes a critical media/cultural studies approach that engages with and connects materials from archives, the popular press, policy documents, television commercials, and television programs as an inter-textual network
  • Analyzes cases ranging from media representation of globally recognized mixed-race figures to figures on reality television

This book studies how the increase of visual representation of mixed-race Koreans formulates a particular racial project in contemporary South Korean media. It explores the moments of ruptures and disjuncture that biracial bodies bring to the formation of neoliberal multiculturalism, a South Korean national racial project that re-aligns racial lines under the nation’s neoliberal transformation. Specifically, Ji-Hyun Ahn examines four televised racial moments that demonstrate particular aspects of neoliberal multiculturalism by demanding distinct ways of re-imagining what it means to be Korean in the contemporary era of globalization. Taking a critical media/cultural studies approach, Ahn engages with materials from archives, the popular press, policy documents, television commercials, and television programs as an inter-textual network that actively negotiates and formulates a new racialized national identity. In doing so, the book provides a rich analysis of the ongoing struggle over racial reconfiguration in South Korean popular media, advancing an emerging scholarly discussion on race as a leading factor of social change in South Korea.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • The New Face of Korea
  • From National Threat to National Hero
  • Consuming Cosmopolitan White(ness)
  • Televising the Making of the Neoliberal Multicultural Family
  • This Is (not) Our Multicultural Future
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Negotiating Identities: Mixed Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Koreaï»ż

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-04-14 02:11Z by Steven

Negotiating Identities: Mixed Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

University of San Francisco
McLaren Complex – MC 250
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California 94117-1080
2016-04-14 through 2016-04-15

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies is pleased to announce its spring symposium Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea, a conference to be held at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2016.

The highlight of the conference will be a keynote address by Emma Teng, Professor of History and Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With this conference, the Center plans to provide a forum for academic discussions and the sharing of the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed-race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea. The conference is designed to promote greater understanding of the cross-cultural encounters that led to the creation of interracial families and encourage research that examines how mixed-race individuals living in East Asia have negotiated their identities…

For more information and to register, click here.

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Desiring biracial whites: cultural consumption of white mixed-race celebrities in South Korean popular media

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2015-08-18 20:05Z by Steven

Desiring biracial whites: cultural consumption of white mixed-race celebrities in South Korean popular media

Media Culture & Society
Volume 37, Number 6 (September 2015)
pages 937-947
DOI: 10.1177/0163443715593050

Ji-Hyun Ahn, Assistant Professor of Communication
University of Washington

Contextualizing the rise in white mixed-race celebrities and foreign entertainers from the perspective of the globalization of Korean popular culture, this article aims to look at how Korean media appropriates whiteness as a marker of global Koreanness. Specifically, the article utilizes Daniel Henney, a white mixed-race actor and celebrity who was born to a Korean adoptee mother and an Irish-American father, as an anchoring text. Analyzing how Henney’s image as upper-class, intelligent, and cosmopolitan constructs what whiteness means to Koreans, the study asserts that Henney’s (cosmopolitan) whiteness is not a mere marker of race, but a neoliberal articulation of a particular mode of Koreanness. This study not only participates in a dialog with the current scholarship of mixed-race studies in media/communication but also links the recent racial politics in contemporary Korean media to the larger ideological implications of racial globalization.

Read or purchase article here.

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Seoul International Seminar on Racism/Mixed Race in Korea and Japan

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Science on 2014-06-18 20:36Z by Steven

Seoul International Seminar on Racism/Mixed Race in Korea and Japan

Yonsei University, South Korea
2014-06-21 through 2014-06-22
Co-organized & Sponsored by Department of Cultural Anthropology & Institute of Korean Studies, Yonsei University

…1:30-3:30 pm Mixed race/blood in modern Japan

(Chair: Lee Sang Kook, Yonsei University)

  1. A.K.M. Skarpelis (NYU Sociology and Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo) , “Eugenic Ironies: Assimilating Colonial Korea into the Japanese Empire”
  2. Johanna O. Zulueta (Soka University), “Multiculturalism and Mixed Race in Okinawa: Politics of Inclusion/Exclusion in the Post-Cold War Years”
  3. Sachiko Horiguchi (Temple University Japan Campus) & Yuki Imoto (Keio University), “From Konketsu to Hafu: The politics of mixed-race categories in modern Japan”

Discussant: Han Geon Soo (Kangwon National University), Park Kyung Min (Michigan State University)

Coffee Break

4:00-6:00pm Cultural politics of mixed race celebrities in East Asia

Chair: Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University)

  1. Ji-Hyun Ahn (University of Washington Tacoma), “Questioning the cultural currency of whiteness: White mixed-race celebrities and (contemporary) Korean popular culture”
  2. Jeehyun Lim (Denison University), “Black and Korean in Neoliberal Multiculturalism in South Korea”
  3. Kaori Mori-Want (Shibaura Institute of Technology), “Japan We are Haafu, So What?: A Different Perspective in Mixed Race Studies in the Voices of Japanese Haafu Comedians”

Discussant: Jung Hyesil (Hanyang University), Sachiko Horiguchi (Temple University Japan Campus)

6:00- 8:00 pm Reception…

For more information click here.

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Transforming Korea into a multicultural society: reception of multiculturalism discourse and its discursive disposition in Korea

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2013-10-20 22:31Z by Steven

Transforming Korea into a multicultural society: reception of multiculturalism discourse and its discursive disposition in Korea

Asian Ethnicity
Volume 13, Issue 1, 2012
pages 97-109
DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2012.625703

Ji-Hyun Ahn
University of Texas, Austin

Since 2005, multicultural-based words such as multicultural society, multicultural family, and multicultural education have grown explosively in Korean society. Due to this social trend, adoption of the term multiculturalism has become a trend within the government and press to explain current social changes in Korea. Nevertheless, there have been few efforts to tackle multiculturalism as a crucial political project or a considerable academic theme of discussion. Thus, this study aims to examine how multiculturalism discourse in Korea has been received and draws its discursive disposition. It argues how the media, especially the press, incorporate other crucial issues such as ‘diversity’, ‘human rights’, and ‘minority politics’ in terms of multiculturalism. To analyse, a total of 275 journal articles were selected and scrutinised. This study contextualises Korean multiculturalism and suggests a meta-picture of the discursive economy of multiculturalism in Korea.

Introduction

Since 2005, ‘multicultural’-based terms such as ‘multicultural society’, ‘multicultural family’ and ‘multicultural education’ have grown explosively in Korean society. The advertising copy of ‘Dynamic Korea’ and many other multi-racial models in TV commercials seem to indicate that Korea is becoming a multicultural society. Furthermore, many journals deal with multiculturalism issues through features and series.

A key symbolic event illustrating this trend was when Hines Ward, an American football hero with a Korean mother, visited Korea in 2006. The passionate response to this ‘Korean’ hero from the U.S. ignited a discussion on issues of race and multicultural society in Korea. Following these events, adoption of the term ‘multiculturalism’ has become a trend within the government and press to explain current social changes in Korea. Nevertheless, there have been few efforts to tackle multiculturalism as a crucial political project or a considerable academic theme of discussion. In this sense, discussions of multiculturalism in Korea are either too superficial or absent altogether. What I want to point out in this context is that racial projects are now proceeding in Korea using multiculturalism discourse, and this serves as a launching point that propels this study.

One significant feature of globalization is an increase of mobility. The flow of people’s mobility is getting more and more diverse and dynamic. For example, Korea, originally supposed to be a very homogeneous country, is now experiencing a great, new influx of immigrants. In a demographical sense, South Korea has a total population of about 40 million people, with a foreign population approaching one million as of 2007. This influx of foreigners started in the early 90s with migrant workers, but the numbers increased in 2000 with a growing number of international, married couples in Korea.

Due to this drastic change, the Korean government has created many policies to assimilate those immigrants and foreigners into Korean society. Media especially plays a key role in handling this issue; for example, newspapers feature the issues of migrant workers and international marriage families, and frame the issues in terms of multiculturalism discourse. What is more, this discursive formation of multicultural society rearranges the order of other competing discourses such as globalization, neo-liberalism, and racism in Korea. Thus, this study has two aims: (1) it examines how multiculturalism discourse has been received and how the term multiculturalism has been used and (2) it studies how multiculturalism discourse in Korea draws its discursive disposition and how the media, especially the press, incorporates other crucial issues such as ‘diversity’, ‘human rights’ and ‘minority politics’ in terms of multiculturalism. I believe this would provide insights about how globalisation promotes social change incorporating multiculturalism discourse in Korea.

Analysing newspaper articles from 1992 to 2007, I demonstrate the typology of discursive dispositions on multiculturalism discourse in Korea. There are three dimensions: (1) multiculturalism discourse is representing multi-race, (2) it passes through minority politics and minority movements, and (3) it detours the idea of (cultural) diversity. I will discuss how this discursive disposition of multiculturalism is now proceeding in Korean society.

Read the entire article here.

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Rearticulating Black Mixed-Race in the Era of Globalization: Hines Ward and the struggle for Koreanness in contemporary South Korean media

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science on 2013-10-16 03:24Z by Steven

Rearticulating Black Mixed-Race in the Era of Globalization: Hines Ward and the struggle for Koreanness in contemporary South Korean media

Cultural Studies
Volume 28, Issue 3, 2014
pages 391-417
DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2013.840665

Ji-Hyun Ahn
University of Texas, Austin

Since the mid-2000s, the term multiculturalism has entered the Korean lexicon as migration has become more and more prevalent due to globalization. The cornerstone of this multicultural explosion was a 2006 visit by American football star Hines Ward, born to an African-American father and a Korean mother. As a black mixed-race sports celebrity, he suddenly became an emblematic media figure in the Korean televisual landscape, signifying a broader racial reconfiguration in Korean society. This media event – what I shall call ‘the Hines Ward moment’ – created and opened the discursive space for racial politics and multicultural issues in Korean society. Hence, this article aims to look at what this discursive explosion of multiculturalism and mixed-race means in the context of globalization. Reading the Hines Ward moment as a symbolic media text, the paper examines how the media discourse on Hines Ward articulates the issues of national identity and racial politics in contemporary Korean society. For analysis, newspaper articles, television programmes and television commercials that deal with the Hines Ward case are examined. By analyzing the modes of articulation of the Hines Ward moment, this study deconstructs the image of a ‘global, multicultural Korea’ shaped by the Korean media and examines the struggle for Koreanness in the televisual area of contemporary Korean media.

Introduction: imagining a multicultural, global Korea?

There has been a common belief that South Korea (hereafter, Korea) has always been a racially homogeneous country because of the strong myth of ‘one people one nation’ (hankyoreh hanminjok) (Shin 2006, G.-S. Han 2007). However, this common myth no longer seems as effective as it was in the past…

Read or purchase the article here.

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Visualizing Race: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and the Struggle for Koreanness in Contemporary South Korean Television

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2013-10-16 03:07Z by Steven

Visualizing Race: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and the Struggle for Koreanness in Contemporary South Korean Television

University of Texas at Austin
August 2013
240 pages

Ji-Hyun Ahn

Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Austin in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

“Visualizing Race: Neoliberal Multiculturalism and the Struggle for Koreanness in Contemporary South Korean Television” investigates visual representations of multicultural subjects in both celebrity culture and the reality television genre to examine the struggle for Koreanness in contemporary Korean television. My aim is to explain the transformation from a modern monoracial Korea to a multicultural, global Korea as a national project of what I call “neoliberal multiculturalism” and to problematize the implicit tie between the two words, “neoliberal” and “multiculturalism.” Using the category of mixed-race as an analytical window onto this cultural shift, I attempt to link the recent explosion of multiculturalism discourse in Korea to the much larger cultural, institutional, and ideological implications of racial globalization. To illustrate this shift, the dissertation analyzes both black and white mixed-race celebrities as well as ordinary multicultural subjects appearing on Korean reality programs. I examine historical archives, popular press sources, policy documents, and television programs in order to analyze them as an inter-textual network that is actively negotiating national identity.

Utilizing the concept of neoliberal multiculturalism as an overarching framework, the dissertation explicates how concepts such as nationality, race, gender, class, and the television genre are intricately articulated; it also critically deconstructs the hegemonic notion of a multicultural, global Korea presented by the Korean media. I argue that Korean television deploys racial representations as a way to suture national anxiety over an increasing number of racial others and projects a multicultural fantasy towards Koreans. This interdisciplinary project contributes to several fields of study by explicating the changed cultural meaning of mixed-race in the age of globalization, defining the organic relation between the medium of television and racial representation, broadening our understanding of Asian multiculturalism and the racial politics in the region, and examining the particulars of ethnic nationalism appearing in the Korean media and popular culture.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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