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Title: North Korean migrants in South Korea : policy, services and social work practices
Author: Lee , Min Young
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 0985
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Since the 1953 truce following the Korean war the number of North Korean migrants coming to South Korea has risen sharply. These migrants have faced a number of legal, social and economic barriers to integration and, consequently, they have been a special target group for South Korean policy makers, service providers and practitioners. This thesis takes a qualitative approach to explore their policy and practice responses to North Korean migrants. It reveals that the goals and strategies of policy makers, service managers and practitioners are largely based on an assimilationist perspective and an assumption of meritocracy. Yet North Korean migrants struggle to achieve full citizenship. Their culture is not accepted or considered of equal value to that of South Korea. Moreover, they are required to learn what the host society considers to be the appropriate attitudes and behaviours for participating in a liberal, democratic, capitalist society. Ironically, the policy, services and social work practices do not tackle, but rather embed, the structural barriers to integration, including the marginalisation, ethnicisation and securitisation of the North Korean migrants. Consequently, I conclude that an intercultural and holistic social work approach to integration, beyond assimilation, and social justice is required if North Korean migrants are to lead better lives in South Korea. In particular, anti-discrimination measures and community-based, long-term social support interventions will be effective means to increase their equality and inclusion. In addition, a gendered, culturally sensitive and reflexive approach in social work education should be considered in order to develop the social work profession to improve the integration of North Korean migrants in South Korea.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available