Consuming modernity : women, food and promotional culture in contemporary Korea
The process of modernisation has created tension and confusion in selfidentity in spite of its various new opportunities. This impact of modernity is more intense in a non-western society. Korea is experiencing a unique pattern of the dynamics and dilemmas modernity has presented. Korean women are experiencing clashes between modernity and tradition, capitalism and Confucianism, and Western and Korean cultural values. The gap created from these tensions is widely mediated by the logic of consumerism. This process is clearly revealed in women's values and attitudes towards food and eating. Although rapid economic development and social changes have considerably modified people's eating habits, women's roles and expectations in regard to food and eating are much more ambiguous and confusing than in the past. Korean advertising displays sharp contradictions of these aspects. While advertising reflects and actively reshapes the prevailing images of women, women constantly reconstitute their identities by selecting, rejecting and negotiating with the public messages in their everyday lives. This thesis aims to examine the changing female identities in contemporary Korea in the process of modernisation and Westernisation by exploring the tensions and contradictions in regard to women's values and attitudes towards food and eating, through the examination of the representations of Korean advertising and women's everyday experiences and negotiations.