Accepted Paper:

Formation of transnational identities through popular media among ethnic Koreans  

Author:

Ildong Joe (Institution of Globalization and Multicultural Studies)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation, I point out the formation of transnational identities through popular media among ethnic Koreans, especially those who lived in a socialist/post-socialist country.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation, I point out the formation of transnational identities through popular media among ethnic Koreans, especially those who lived in a socialist/post-socialist country in both the Cold War and the Post-Cold War eras. During the Cold War period, listening to radio from South Korea was a dangerous act to a point of life threatening. But many ethnic Korean returnees from Russia (especially Sakhalin) and China spoke out their experiences of listening secretly to South Korean radio broadcastings in their oral life histories. From the South Korean radio programs and popular songs, they would construct various images and fantasies of South Korea. These imaginations were not just about South Korea, a nation-state, but more about their diasporic identities and public spheres.

When Cold War and Post-Cold War politics compete around North and South Korea, an imagination of (South) Korea through popular media is a social project of everyday life. At one point ethnic Koreans abroad made their mind and chose South Korea as their homeland. Soon they found ways to migrate or 'return' to South Korea. In South Korea, the process became nuanced and evolved. Their experiences, performances, and activities around South Korean popular music and media in Socialist worlds are not only an adaptation to South Korean society but also strategies for making their own identities as transnational ethnic Koreans. The transnational identities of ethnic Koreans as life strategies are mapped out over multiple borders, times and ideologies.

Panel P079
Transnational history and multicultural identities of (ethnic) Koreans