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Belonging in a House Divided: The Violence of the North Korean Resettlement Process

Belonging in a House Divided chronicles the everyday lives of resettled North Korean refugees in South Korea and their experiences of violence, postwar citizenship, and ethnic boundary making. Through extensive ethnographic research, Joowon Park documents the emergence of cultural differences and tensions between Koreans from the North and South, as well as new transnational kinship practices that connect family members across the Korean Demilitarized Zone. As a South Korean citizen raised outside the peninsula and later drafted into the military, Park weaves in autoethnographic accounts of his own experience in the army to provide an empathetic and vivid analysis of the multiple overlapping layers of violence that shape the embodied experiences of belonging. He asks readers to consider why North Korean resettlement in South Korea is a difficult process, despite a shared goal of reunification and the absence of a language barrier. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in anthropology, migration, and the politics of humanitarianism.

Joowon Park is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Skidmore College.

Source: publisher’s website

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