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Nouveau-riche Nationalism and Multiculturalism in Korea: A media narrative analysis

Publisher: , 2015
Link to online store *

From the publisher’s website:

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.

Gil-Soo Han is an Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies in the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University, Australia. His research interests include migrant communities in Australia and Asia, ethnic media, religion, and health and medicine.


  1. Introduction
  2. Theoretical perspectives on racial discrimination
  3. A struggle to legislate anti-racial discrimination law in Korea: dissident grassroots’ perspective
  4. Migrant workers: the modern slavery
  5. Korean nationalism and foreign professionals
  6. Children of international marriage: a future asset or just the subject of discrimination?
  7. ‘What more do you want?’: deserted North Korean refugees
  8. K-pop nationalism: celebrities and acting blackface in the Korean media
  9. Concluding remarks

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.