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Title:Individualized masculine citizenship: study abroad men and military service in South Korea
Author(s):Choi, Hee Jung
Director of Research:Moodie, Ellen; Abelmann, Nancy
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Moodie, Ellen
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gottlieb, Alma; Martin, Jeffrey; Lee, Chulwoo
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):South Korea
study abroad
Abstract:This dissertation is a study of the politics of citizenship in the context of South Korea's ardent globalization and neoliberal reforms, through the stories of men who have spent extensive period time studying outside of South Korea, whom I call "study abroad men" in this thesis, and their military service in South Korea. My ethnographic research demonstrates that these study abroad men are both legally and culturally limited in their belonging abroad when they come of age and attempt to work and settle down after their education. Thus, despite their life and education abroad from an early age, these transnational young men deeply value enhancing the possibility of a viable future in South Korea; those who want to open up their possible futures in South Korea even come to appreciate compulsory military service (currently required to serve at least for two years, only for men) as an opportunity to secure full membership, a militarized masculine citizenship, in South Korea. Analyzing the ways in which study abroad men who value flexibility and mobility along with cosmopolitan aspiration make sense of and give meaning to military conscription in South Korea, I argue that study abroad men secure individualized masculine citizenship through a military service that is highly classed and largely pursued for individual benefits; as such their service differs from the dominant discourse in South Korea that legitimizes military conscription as an equal sacred duty of every male citizen for the sake of nation. I further argue that this pursuit of national membership through military service is not necessarily contradictory with cosmopolitan aspirations or flexible citizenship strategies. I specifically locate this project in contemporary South Korea, a site which offers a productive vantage point from which to grasp the tension between the global and national.
Issue Date:2016-07-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Hee Jung Choi
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-11-10
Date Deposited:2016-08

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