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Class Struggle or Family Struggle? The Lives of Women Factory Workers in South Korea

From the publisher’s website:

This study complements the burgeoning literature on South Korean economic development by considering it from the perspective of young female factory workers. In approaching development from this position, Kim explores the opportunity and exploitation that development has presented to female workers and humanizes the notion of the ‘Korean economic miracle’ by examining its impact on their lives. Kim looks at the conflicts and ambivalences of young women as they participate in the industrial work force and simultaneously grapple with defining their roles in respect to marriage and motherhood within conventional family structures. The book explores the women’s individual and collective struggles to improve their positions and examines their links with other political forces within the labor movement. She analyses how female workers envision their place in society, how they cope with economic and social marginalisation in their daily lives, and how they develop strategies for a better future.

  • Contributes both to feminist understandings of women, work and family, and to anthropological literature on resistance
  • Humanizes ‘Korean economic miracle’ by examining its impact on female workers’ lives
  • Complements recent anthropological studies of Korean conglomerates and white-collar employees; addresses women’s role in labour and trade unions


  1. Women caught between global capitalism and South Korean patriarchy
  2. The process of production in the Masan Free Export Zone
  3. The myth of social mobility: its creation and reproduction among women workers
  4. Labor militancy and collective action
  5. The making of working class identity: students’ theories and workers’ lives
  6. Conclusion

Entry on here.

* Where the book is available from a number of sources, they are prioritised as follows: (1) Amazon UK site, or for the more recent uploads (2) Amazon US site (3) Other sites in US or Europe, including second-hand outlets (4) LTI Korea, where the title is advertised as available from there (5) Onlines stores in Korea. Links to and Amazon UK site contain an affiliate code which, should you make a purchase, gives a small commission to LKL at no additional cost to you.