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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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Contested Belonging of North Korean Refugees in South Korea

Contested Belonging of North Korean Refugees in South Korea

(p.124) Contested Belonging of North Korean Refugees in South Korea
At Home and in the Field

Hyeon Ju Lee

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines national and ethnic identity construction among North Korean refugees in South Korea. It illustrates how North Korean refugee identity as talbukja (literally, “person(s) who is (are) displaced from North Korea”) as well as their “belonging” is constantly contested. The term implies a socially marginalized refugee who does not belong to a particular country. When a person is called a talbukja, they are not bukhan saram (North Korean) or hanguk saram (South Korean) with full cultural, historical, and legal rights as a citizen of either country. This constructed ethnicity has many social, political, and economic implications for talbukja lives in South Korea.

Keywords:   talbukja, North Korea, North Korean refugees, South Korea, North Korean refugee identity, constructed ethnicity

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