The unprecedented economic success of South Korea since the 1990s has led in turn to a large increase in the number of immigrants and foreign workers in Korean industries. This book describes and explains the experiences of discrimination and racism that foreigners and ‘new’ Koreans have faced in a multicultural South Korea. It looks at how society has treated the foreigners and what their experiences have been given that common discourse about race in Korea surrounds issues of Korean heterogeneity and pure blood nationalism.
Starting with critiques of Korean scholarship and policy framework on multiculturalism, this book argues for the need to revisit the most fundamental aspect of multiculturalism: the host population’s ability to respect new comers rather than discriminate against them. The author employs a critical realist understanding of racism and attempts to identify long-lasting institutional factors which make Korean society less than welcoming ‘new’ or temporary Koreans. A large number of new reportages are identified and systematically analysed based on the principles of grounded theory method. The findings show that nouveau-riche nationalism and pure-blood nationalism are widely practised when Koreans deal with ‘foreigners’. As a newly industrialised and highly successful nation, Korean society is still in transition and treats foreigners according to economic standard of their countries of origin.
As one of the very first books in English about foreigners’ experiences of Korean nationalism, multiculturalism and discrimination, it will be of great interest to students and scholars of Sociology, Ethnic studies, Asian studies, Korean studies, Media studies and Cultural studies.