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Title: China-to-South Korea ethnic labour migration: A human geographical perspective
Author: Kim, Myung-Hee Anna
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2006
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South Korea, one of the early newly industrialising and labour surplus emigration economies has emerged as a core economy of global migration in a matter of twenty years. Yet the dynamics of the country's transition experience remains overly simplified or obfuscated in the literature of international migration. International labour migration in the Asian Pacific region· as a whole has become far more dynamic in its composition rather than in the sheer magnitude of human mobility that characterised the earlier era of the migration-development transition in so-called the 'tiger economies'. This thesis deals with key themes of the unexplored dimensions of international migration in post-1990 Korea in the four-paper format. In particular, the thesis investigates a key but little known feature of the new Korean migration economy: the in-movement ofundocumented ethnic Koreans from the People's Republic of China. Core arguments of the thesis reappraise the following issues of international migration in the country from multi-disciplinary perspectives: • First, the post-industrial demographic and migration transitions in Korea. • Second, the economic dimension of ethnic migration from post-reform Northeast China to South Korea. • Third, the identity transformations ofKorean-Chinese ethnic migrants. • Fourth, the South Korean versus German approach to the post-cold war @ethniclabour migration from China and the former Soviet Union. The first and second papers bring a global comparative overview of commonalities in the patterns of demographic and emigration transition found between the late urbanised and industrial Korean society and that of the European (old industrial) counterpart. All core papers of the thesis deal with nationally specific yet globally observable problematique of ethnic migration from socialist transition economies. In Chapter six, German migration politics with focus on its Sptitaussiedlerpolitk is examined as a parallel case to the Korean experience. The chapter attempts to expose the unrecognised commonality which the western and eastern nation states share in their experiences with the ethnic migration influx in the context of the post-socialist changing geopolitical regimes of international migration. Their findings suggest that the so-called return movement no longer epitomise a romantic ethno-national myth of the nations. Rather the unconventional South-North and East-West population movements manifest a post-socialist and post-industrial emergent form of international labour migration. The issues have been previously bounded in the national and regional.debate without recognition of their wider generic characteristics. The thesis contributes to bringing a geo-politically wider perspective on the dynamic inter-regional labour flows around the Korean peninsula. In doing so, the thesis makes a plea for the need of a global approach to the emerging migration-development system in post-industrial East Asian economies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available