London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

LKL book database logo

Under Construction: The Gendering of Modernity, Class, and Consumption in the Republic of Korea

From the publisher’s website:

Since the late 1960s, the lives of south Koreans have been reconstructed on the shifting ground of urbanization, industrialization, military authoritarianism, democratic reform, and social liberalization. Class and gender identities have been modified in relation to a changing modernity and new definitions of home and family, work and leisure, husband and wife.

Under Construction provides an illuminating portrait of south Koreans in the 1990s–a decade that saw a return to civilian rule, a loosening of censorship and social control, and the emergence of a full-blown consumer culture. It shows how these changes impacted the lives of Korean men and women and the very definition of what it means to be “male” and “female” in Korea. In a series of provocative essays written by Korean and Western scholars, we see how Korean women and men actively engage, and at times openly contest, the limitations of gender.

Under Construction is part of a decisive turn in the anthropology of gender–from its early quest for the causes of female subordination to a finely tuned analysis of the historical, cultural, and class-based specificities of gender relations and the tension between gender as an ideological construct and as a lived experience. Firmly grounded in the political and economic history of south Korea, this long-awaited volume fills an important gap in Korean studies and East Asia gender studies in English.

Contributors: Nancy Abelmann, Cho Haejoang, Roger L. Janelli, Laurel Kendall, June Lee, So-Hee Lee, Seungsook Moon, Dawnhee Yim.


  1. Introduction | Laurel Kendall
  2. Women, Mobility, and Desire: Narrating Class and Gender in South Korea | Nancy Abe!mann
  3. Discourses of Illness, Meanings of Modernity: A Gendered Construction of Songinbyong | June J. H. Lee
  4. The Production and Subversion of Hegemonic Masculinity: Reconfiguring Gender Hierarchy in Contemporary South Korea | Seungsook Moon
  5. Gender Construction in the Offices of a South Korean Conglomerate | Roger L. Janelli and Dawnhee Yim
  6. The Concept of Female Sexuality in Korean Popular Culture | So-Hee Lee
  7. Living With Conflicting Subjectivities: Mother, Motherly Wife, and Sexy Woman in the Transition From Colonial-Modern to Postmodern Korea | Cho Haejoang

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.