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Conference Papers Year : 2015

The Creation of the Category "Multicultural Family" (tamunhwa kajok): Towards A Multicultural Society?


The number of cross-border marriages in South Korea has been on the rise since 1990. Unlike previous years, where the dominant model was that of cross-border marriage between Korean women and foreign men, for the first time in South Korean history this phenomenon –especially concerning Korean men– has raised questions about immigrant women. This has promoted public debate mobilising various social actors such as the press, civil associations, and the scientific community. Facing this new situation, the South Korean government used scientific expertise to understand this new social reality and successively implemented immigration policies in 2006 and 2008. By only targeting the category called “multicultural family” (tamunhwa kajok), and therefore excluding other immigrant and social groups, this policy aims to provide social action programmes to integrate female immigrants into South Korean society. Thus this new category that designates the group of foreign women married to Korean men remains at the heart of the South Korean integration policy. To better support this policy, the “Multicultural Family Support Act” (Tamunhwa kajok chiwŏnpŏp) was established in 2008. Also, the network of "Immigrant Family Support Centres" (Kyŏrhon iminja kajok chiwŏn sent'ŏ) created in 2006, became, in 2008, "Multicultural Family Supports Centres" (Tamunhwa kajok chiwŏn sent'ŏ). In 2009 there were 119 centres in throughout all the Korean provinces and by 2010 this number rose to 171. From the appearance of a new social issue to the resulting policies, this paper examines how the phenomenon of Korean men’s cross-border marriage contributes to the creation of a new legal-bureaucratic category of the “multicultural family” (tamunhwa kajok) and poses the question of “multiculturalism” in South Korean society, highlighting social logics associated with this process. This research is based on discourse analysis of the social actors and political actions taken by the South Korean government.
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hal-03585435 , version 1 (23-02-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03585435 , version 1


Kyung-Mi Kim. The Creation of the Category "Multicultural Family" (tamunhwa kajok): Towards A Multicultural Society?: dans le cadre du panel « Rethinking the boundaries of the "Korean- ness" ». AKSE 2015, Association for Korean Studies in Europe, Jul 2015, Université de la Ruhr, Bochum, Germany. ⟨hal-03585435⟩
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