Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Anthropology

Advisor

Jonathan Glasser

Committee Member

Michelle Lelievre

Committee Member

Eric Han

Committee Member

Michael Cronin

Abstract

The idea of maternal citizenship and reproductive duties as a way of both assimilating and othering Filipina and Vietnamese foreign wives in South Korea plays out in both public multiculturalist discourse and within household discussions. Ethnic nationalism, neo-Confucianism, and government/media discourses have helped to structure how migrant mothers and their families are portrayed and how they portray themselves. I argue that even as state and civil society pressures marriage migrants from Southeast Asia to become “Korean” mothers and daughters-in-law, migrants and their families influence how such an identity is defined by taking advantage of the media’s influence and the government’s authority within these roles and utilizing the resources they receive to improve their status in Korea. In short, I examine how Filipina and Vietnamese marriage migrants reproduce and raise “Korean” children, integrate them into Korean society, while at the same time, using their position in society to maintain and introduce to their children the traditions and customs of their home country. I use data collected from participant observation and interviews with these families and organization members in order to examine how national and family identity is shaped by marriage migrants for themselves and for their children while at the same time having to work within severe constraints.