HomingAn Affective Topography of Ethnic Korean Return Migration

HomingAn Affective Topography of Ethnic Korean Return Migration

Ji-Yeon O. Jo

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780824867751

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press


Homing Diaspora Koreans revolves around the experiences of legacy migrants—later-generation diaspora Koreans who have migrated to South Korea—from China, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the United States. This book is based on interviews with sixty-three legacy migrants and thirty secondary informants. In Part I, I provide insights on how diaspora subjectivities formed through the sociohistorical and political specificities of each diaspora and were further shaped by diasporans’ efforts to embody inherited images of Korea/n even as they negotiated belonging in their countries of diaspora. Part II is devoted to four intangible “borders”—social spaces, citizenship, Korean language, and family—and how each border shapes the affective conditions of legacy migrants. It goes on to demonstrate how their evolving psychoemotional responses, which I call “affective topography,” contribute to the (re)making of Korean peoplehood. Diaspora Koreans who migrate to Korea must navigate belongings that are situated in the nexus between ethnic nationalism and neoliberalism and mediated by how their affective topographies shift as expectations meet reality. Through this process, they form different degrees of “affective investment,” which, in turn, contributes to a Korean peoplehood that is still evolving.