London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Critically Capitalist: The Spirit of Asset Capitalism in South Korea [forthcoming]

An ethnography of South Korea’s lay investors and aspiring millionaires that demonstrates how South Korea’s capitalism thrives on its critiques. Critically Capitalist presents an ethnography of South Korea’s asset seekers, including amateur stock investors, real estate enthusiasts, and money coaches, to demonstrate how financialized asset capitalism is sustained. As they hunt for profit margins, rent, and … [Read More]

Polarizing Dreams: Gangnam and Popular Culture in Globalizing Korea [forthcoming]

Anyone genuinely curious about what makes South Korean pop culture tick should look no further than Gangnam. Celebrated in a song by an unlikely K-pop superstar named Psy in 2012, Gangnam is the epicenter of Hallyu, the Korean Wave. It is an exclusive zone of privilege and wealth that has lured pop culture industries since the 1980s … [Read More]

Buddhism, Digital Technology and New Media in Korea: Ŭisang’s Ocean Seal Diagram [forthcoming]

Buddhism, Digital Technology and New Media in Korea introduces Ŭisang (625-702), a seminal figure in East Asian religion who founded the Korean Hwaŏm school of Buddhism from various angles and placing his thought in the interdisciplinary and transcultural context of the twenty-first century. The book presents and analyses the scope of Ŭisang’s teachings in Korean … [Read More]

Being Korean, Becoming Japanese? Nationhood, Citizenship, and Resistance in Japan [forthcoming]

In Japan the number of “Special Permanent Residents”—most of whom are of Korean descent, the so-called “Zainichi”—is declining according to government statistics. Does this mean Koreans living in Japan are becoming Japanese? This volume presents a compelling sociological analysis of Korean colonial migrants’ and their descendants’ politics of self-identification and their ongoing struggle for social … [Read More]

Comfort Women of the Japanese Empire: Colonial Rule and the Battle over Memory [forthcoming]

This is an important and controversial book, hitherto available only in Korean, Japanese and Chinese, a book which has been subject to court cases attempting to have some parts of the book deleted. The author reconsiders the issue of the “comfort women”, that is the Korean women who were compelled to provide sexual comfort to … [Read More]

Past Progress: Time and Politics at the Borders of China, Russia, and Korea

While anxiety abounds in the old Cold War West that progress – whether political or economic – has been reversed, for citizens of former-socialist countries, murky temporal trajectories are nothing new. Grounded in the multiethnic frontier town of Hunchun at the triple border of China, Russia, and North Korea, Ed Pulford traces how several of … [Read More]

Mediating Gender in Post-Authoritarian South Korea

Mediating Gender in Post-Authoritarian South Korea focuses on the relationship between media representation and gender politics in South Korea. Its chapters feature notable voices of South Korea’s burgeoning sphere of gender critique enabled by social media, doing what no other academic volume has yet accomplished in the sphere of Anglophone studies on this topic. Seeking … [Read More]

Korean Kirogi Families: Placemaking, Belonging, and Mothering

Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork at Fairfax County, Virginia, and Daechi-dong, Seoul, Korea, Korean Kirogi Families explores the dynamics of emplaced transnational families through analyses of the categories of social capital, sense of place, sense of belonging, and mothering among so-called “Korean kirogi families.” A Korean kirogi (wild goose) family is a distinct kind of transnational migrant family that splits their … [Read More]

The Constitution of South Korea: A Contextual Analysis

The constitutional system of South Korea is a work in progress, and this volume fleshes out and makes intelligible to foreign readers that process within the specific political and historical context of modern South Korea. The current South Korean Constitution of 1987 is the culmination of decades-long efforts by the South Korean people to achieve … [Read More]

Modern Korean Digraphia: Metanarration and National Identity, 1894–1972

William Strnad traces the formation and development of modern Korean digraphia during the years 1894–1972, including a description and analysis of the historical discourse related to Korean phonetic script and Chinese characters. Modern Korean digraphia was contextualized and altered amid the global emancipation and speculative metanarratives of modernity, and the national metanarratives of nationalism and … [Read More]

Starry Field: A Memoir of Lost History

“Absorbing…Starry Field reminds us that even knowing where we came from won’t tell us where we’re going – but it will help along the way.” Susan Choi, National Book Award winning author of Trust Exercise A poignant memoir for readers who love Pachinko and The Return by journalist Margaret Juhae Lee, who sets out on a search for her family’s history … [Read More]

dd’s Umbrella

What was it they were battling? Their smallness, of course, their smallness. A delicate and arresting queer novel from one of Korea’s most celebrated contemporary writers. d, a nonbinary gig worker living in Seoul, briefly escapes the grasp of isolation when they meet dd, only to be ensnared by grief when dd dies in a … [Read More]

Politics of the North Korean Diaspora

Politics of the North Korean Diaspora examines how authoritarian security concerns shape global diaspora politics. Empirically, it traces the recent emergence of a North Korean diaspora – a globally-dispersed population of North Korean émigrés – and argues that the non-democratic nature of the DPRK homeland regime fundamentally shapes diasporic politics. Pyongyang perceives the diaspora as … [Read More]

The United States-South Korea Alliance: Why It May Fail and Why It Must Not

The alliance between the United States and South Korea has endured through seven decades of shifting regional and geopolitical security contexts. Yet it now faces challenges from within. Domestic political turmoil, including deepening political polarization and rising nationalism in both countries, has cast doubt on the alliance’s viability—with critical implications for the balance of power … [Read More]

Transnationalism and Migration in Global Korea: History, Politics, and Sociology, 1910 to the Present

Contrary to the image of Korea as a largely self-contained country until its economy became global during the 1990s, this book shows that transnationalism has firmly been part of modern Korea’s national experience throughout its existence. The volume portrays Korea’s frequent transnational entanglements with other nations in East Asia and the West from the start … [Read More]

Borderland Dreams: The Transnational Lives of Korean Chinese Workers

In Borderland Dreams June Hee Kwon explores the trajectory of the “Korean dream” that has fueled the massive migration of Korean Chinese workers from the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in northeast China to South Korea since the early 1990s. Charting the interplay of bodies, money, and time, the ethnography reveals how these migrant workers, in … [Read More]