Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Gendered Multiculturalism" and visa statistics

[Update: The immigration statistics for 2008 showing all foreigners by visa type can be found here (thanks to Max C)]

An article about Scott Burgeson's new book appeared in the Korea Times today, and mentions that
On Nov. 5, he is giving a lecture titled "Notes on Multiculturalism in Korea" at Kium, an annex of Kyobo bookstore inside [Shin] Nonhyeon subway station, Gangnam.
As he described it to me,
"[T]he point of the lecture is to deconstruct the myth of "multiculturalism" in Korea, address the Korean media's continued stereotyping and demonizing of Western expat males here, especially ESL teachers, and offer an alternative formulation of multiculturalism here based not on ethnicity, since Korea will remain overwhelmingly homogenous ethnically speaking for the next several decades (reaching only 10% in 2050), but rather based on alternative values transcending race and ethnicity, which will ideally help Koreans better tolerate differences and diversity among themselves."
Here is the opening:
These days we often hear in the South Korean media and from the South Korean government that Korea has entered a "New Age of Multiculturalism." The reasons for what I will call the Korean establishment's promotion of this idealized notion are complex, and for now I can only offer two primary causes or motivation here: First of all, the old national ideals of "Danil Minjok" and "Han Bando" (i.e., Reunification with the North) have come under widespread questioning in the past few years, and are no longer seen as realistic or desirable by many Koreans, and so a "Multicultural Korea" offers a positive alternative identity as the nation seeks to "rebrand" itself in today's globalized world. More to the point, this is simply a "good" international marketing strategy, as South Korea aims to attract more "multinational companies" and "international investment" here.

A second reason is driven by what we might call "gendered multiculturalism," specifically in response to the many "foreign brides," mostly from China and Southeast Asia, who have been coming to Korea since the late 1990s to marry Korean men, often older men in the countryside. These bicultural families, which presently number over 100,000, have in turn been raising a new generation of bicultural children, prompting the South Korean government to introduce a number of laws and policies in the past few years in support of such "multicultural families." Of course, from the 1950s and well into the 1990s, tens of thousands of "bicultural children" were born of Korean mothers and U.S. military service members, and quite a few more as the result of marriages between South Korean women and male native ESL teachers from Western countries, who have been coming to Korea in large numbers since the 1990s. However, the South Korean government traditionally felt no need to support such "multicultural families" at the official level, and the reason is fairly obvious: Gendered multiculturalism has only recently been embraced by the Korean establishment because it serves the interests of Korean men, which is to say the patriarchal structure here. This becomes even more apparent when we consider that the number of male migrant workers here from Southeast Asia and China is roughly four times that of "foreign brides" from these same countries, and yet the South Korean government continues to make it difficult for male migrant workers from developing countries to obtain permanent residency or citizenship here, and often they are deported in large numbers. Clearly, "multiculturalism" has a rather narrow meaning as far as official Korea is concerned, which is why I call it "gendered multiculturalism" in the service of Korean patriarchy.
It sounds like an interesting lecture, and as he points out at his site, it's at 7pm.

Scott asked me to confirm some immigration statistics, so I thought I'd post the fruits of those findings here (the numbers are rounded, not exact).

The Korea Immigration Service's statistics for 2008 can be downloaded by clicking here. You may end up with a file called '2008'; if so, you have to rename it '2008.zip'. In the zip file are many excel files. “2장_Ⅱ_체류외국인현황” has the end-of-2008 statistics for all foreigners in Korea by country and visa type. Helpful in determining the different visa types is this List of South Korean visas.

For migrant workers, we can find them under three visa types:

D-3 (industrial trainee (which I thought had been discontinued?))
Male 26,000
Female 8,800

E-9 Employment Permit (migrant workers)
M 192,400
F 24,000
(They are all Asian, but only 7000 are Korean Chinese)

H-2 (Korean Chinese working visit visa)
M 161,000
F 137,000

If you include H-2 Korean Chinese workers there are 549,000 migrant workers.
M 379,400 69%
F 169,800 31%

Without the H-2 Korean Chinese migrant workers, the total runs
M 218,400 87%
F 32,800 13%

So including the Korean Chinese in the total migrant worker figure, we see that there are are twice as many males as females.

F-2 (Marriage residency - total 123,000)
M 15,300 12.2%
F 108,000 87.8%

Most of these are Asian, but 5,000 are not.
M 3,000
F 2,000

F-5 (permanent resident - Total 19,000)
(An F-2 prior makes it easier to get this, but is no guarantee of marriage)
M 7,800
F 11,400

If we only look at the F-2 figures as an indicator of marriage migrants, we see there are seven times as many females as males, though among non-Asian marriage partners we see 50% more males. Interesting. Also interesting is the fact that it was only, I believe, in the last decade that foreign men married to Korean women could get an F-2 visa. Prior to that it was only for foreign wives of Korean men, something else pointing in the direction of '"gendered multiculturalism" in the service of Korean patriarchy.'

Those statistics are well worth downloading and looking through (quite a few of them have English translations, at least in part) if you want to kill an hour or two...

33 comments:

kushibo said...

However, the South Korean government traditionally felt no need to support such "multicultural families" at the official level, and the reason is fairly obvious: Gendered multiculturalism has only recently been embraced by the Korean establishment because it serves the interests of Korean men, which is to say the patriarchal structure here.

Hogwash. The existence and expansion of the F2 visa as we know it is worlds different from what was available until about a decade ago. Whereas foreign women who married Korean men long had the legal ability to stay in Korea, foreign men who married Korean women had no such right to live and work in Korea on the basis of being married to a Korean woman.

That it changed to allow for far more freedom for foreign men married to Korean women than they'd had was directly because of a recognition, stated many times over, that such families were becoming a growing presence in Korea and the government needed to insure that they would be accommodated.

Sure, the growing number of foreign women moving to the Korean countryside is a (relatively) new situation that requires new responses, but there is plenty of other stuff that is not "gendered multiculturalism" that also fits into that.

kushibo said...

One other thing I wanted to say, in relation to South Korea's newfound "multiculturalism": I rarely hear native South Koreans talk about the "international marriages" with the zealous disparagement and negative narrative that is so commonplace among K-blogs and expat commentators. If anyone's creating a swirl of aspersion and toxicity around the wives and children in these unions, it's the Anglophone community. South Korean media and citizenry are aware of problems of abuse and things done by the government to help, but where you see the knee-jerk sentiment that any such marriage is bad and abusive and that the kids will be messed up is in the K-blog commentary.

Joseph Dart said...

BTW if you're using firefox and you just get a screen that says "에러남" when you try to download, delete all the "amp;" in the URL (don't delete the & characters themselves). Or try this direct link.

BuzuBuzu said...

I wish I lived in Seoul, so I could attend this lecture. The author appears knowledgeable and well spoken - at least from the blurb on this blog - and his tone doesn't have a trace of the "zealous disparagement" that some commentators here hint at.

B_Wagner said...

The CERD committee requested that Korea provide "disaggregated statistical data on the number of persons born from inter-ethnic unions living [in Korea]."
UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Concluding Observations, South Korea, 17 August 2007. CERD/C/KOR/CO/14. Available at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/CERD.C.KOR.CO.1.pdf


But the Korean NGO MINBYUN pointed out that government was "unable to perform an accurate survey on ‘racially mixed’ people in Korea, because it focuses its policy only on internationally married migrant women and their integration into the Korean 'nation'."

NGO Report under ICERD, MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, June 2007. Available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/MINBYUN.pdf

Wouldn't this offer support for the statement that the gov. favors "the interests of Korean men, which is to say the patriarchal structure here."?

kushibo said...

BuzuBuzu wrote:
his tone doesn't have a trace of the "zealous disparagement" that some commentators here hint at.

I wasn't referring to King Baeksu when I made that comment about K-blogs and expat commentators.

If I'd meant King Baeksu specifically, since this post is about him, I would have mentioned him specifically. Rather, I was referring to how the meme itself commonly (but not always) is presented in the K-blogs and their comments section.

kushibo said...

Ben Wagner wrote:
Wouldn't this offer support for the statement that the gov. favors "the interests of Korean men, which is to say the patriarchal structure here."?

Perhaps. It would appear to support that statement, at least in that instance (although I notice the paper itself does not have a chapter on Internationally Married Migrant Men, as it does for women).

The government obviously has an interest in the situation of foreign women marrying Korean men, as do many NGOs. Is it because of this gendered multiculturalism notion or is it because migrant women tend to be more vulnerable than migrant men, particularly third-world migrant women versus first-world migrant men?

My beef was with this idea that the ROK government "felt no need to support such 'multicultural families' at the official level," which I feel is negated by some very real and significant changes to law to accommodate such families, to the benefit of just about any male in Korea with an F2 visa. That would seem to undermine King Baeksu's point, if it relies on the idea that the ROK government really does feel no need to support foreign male/Korean female families at the official level.

Anonymous said...

Here's a recent article from the New York Times that deals with similar issues.

South Koreans Struggle With Race

matt said...

Joseph Dart:
Thanks for that direct link - I'll add it to the post.

Kushibo and B_Wagner:

According to this essay, the government revised the Korean National Act in November, 1997, making it easier for couples where the male was foreign to register their children as Korean citizens, and the visas available for foreign spouses changed from the F-1 visa to F-2 visa (allowing them to work) in 2002.

As for new laws passed in 2006:

According to the ‘Grand Plan’ of April 26 2006, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family became the leading and major coordinating department, and other ministries including the Ministry of Justice, Labor, Social Welfare and Health and local and central government departments had to participate in the ‘Grand Plan’.

The vision of the ‘Grand Plan’ is “a social integration of foreign wives and an attainment of a multicultural society.” The major policies are seven: 1) Regulation of international marriage agencies and protection of foreign wives before entry to Korea; 2) Support for victims of domestic violence; 3) Support and orientation for newly arrived foreign wives; 4) Support for Children of international marriages in schools; 5) Providing social welfare to foreign wives; 6) Raising social awareness of multicultural issues; and 7) Making a comprehensive project.


So on the one hand, the aim seems to have been to protect vulnerable foreign wives [and this was also the same month of Hines Ward's first visit to Korea after receiving the MVP, though whether this was influential or not I don't know], but on the other hand, the "attainment of a multicultural society" was paired with "social integration of foreign wives".

King Baeksu said...

Kushibo, I came up with the phrase "gendered multiculturalism" on my own, but then did a Google search and found that it has also been used by some feminist Korean academics or scholars as well. The following interesting paper by Kim Myoung-Hye of Dong-Eui University ("A Critical Reading of Popular Korean Television Drama 'Gold Bride': Questioning Visual Representations of Migrant Woman for Marriage in the Era of “Multiculturalism” in Korea") seems to largely concur with my assessment above:

http://visualculture.hanyang.ac.kr/paper-uploadversion.pdf

In any case, as I mention at the start, this is not really even the main point of the lecture -- it was just mentioned by way of introduction...

kushibo said...

Matt, as far as I recall, there was a time up until the late 1990s (perhaps 1997 or 1998, though I'm not sure), where foreign men were simply NOT eligible for the same F-series visas (perhaps it was the F-1) that allowed them to stay in the country.

IOW, up until that time, a foreign woman married to a ROK male could stay in South Korea legally by virtue of that marriage, but a foreign man married to a ROK female could not. The law was changed at some point to address that discrepancy specifically, and future-minded multiculturalism was cited as a reason.

King Baeksu, I'm sorry if I sound like I'm quibbling too much with what you're saying. I'm sure it would be an interesting lecture to attend, and were I in Seoul right now, I'd make a strong effort to do so. Any chance you'll take it on the road?

King Baeksu said...

95, no I'm not taking it on the road although I'll be speaking at the Gwangju International Center on Sat. Nov 14th at 2pm if you care to fly in for that. I'll be addressing a similar theme in extended format:

http://www.gic.or.kr/kor/

I'd still like to know what you think of the continued marginalizing of male migrant workers here by the ROK government, for as has been mentioned above, they greatly outnumber "foreign brides" here...

kushibo said...

Are you referring to this part of what was quoted?

This becomes even more apparent when we consider that the number of male migrant workers here from Southeast Asia and China is roughly four times that of "foreign brides" from these same countries, and yet the South Korean government continues to make it difficult for male migrant workers from developing countries to obtain permanent residency or citizenship here, and often they are deported in large numbers. Clearly, "multiculturalism" has a rather narrow meaning as far as official Korea is concerned, which is why I call it "gendered multiculturalism" in the service of Korean patriarchy.

I'd have to know more about the stats. Are we talking about male migrant workers who are in the country legally? Are they in they married to Korean nationals and not getting F-series visas? I'd need more information.

King Baeksu said...

95, Matt also provided some statistics above.

Apparently you haven't read some of his excellent recent posts on the subject of migrant workers in Korea, or else you wouldn't be asking such naive (disingenuous?) questions as "Are they here legally?"

Do some more research first, and then come back here and keep trying to hold down the nationalist line. The discussion will be far more interesting that way.

kushibo said...

King Baeksu wrote:
Kushibo, I came up with the phrase "gendered multiculturalism" on my own, but then did a Google search and found that it has also been used by some feminist Korean academics or scholars as well.

If there's one thing I've learned from my academic studies, it's that you can put gendered in front of just about any noun and come up with a sub-discipline, just as you can throw toss about any adjective in front of Marxism to do the same.

Every thing is conflict. It defines everything there is. Even the absence of conflict is a form of conflict.

kushibo said...

Oh, I missed this...

Do some more research first, and then come back here and keep trying to hold down the nationalist line. The discussion will be far more interesting that way.

You seem to think you know some things about my beliefs that you actually don't.

King Baeksu said...

95, I would describe you as a "soft Korean nationalist." Is this a mischaracterization?

Anyway, I noticed that you didn't leave any comments under this excellent recent post by Matt about migrant workers in Korea:

http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2009/10/stop-crackdown-or-why-quarter-of.html

I would be curious to know what you think about it, which would in turn help deepen the present discussion in this thread.

kushibo said...

King Baeksu wrote:
Anyway, I noticed that you didn't leave any comments under this excellent recent post by Matt about migrant workers in Korea:

No, I didn't. I wanted to first gauge some ideological differences I might have with others in the conversation, including Matt, so I delayed comment until I could get a little discussion going about immigration policy in order to gauge that.

But unlike the previous discussion, only one person replied.

That discussion post included links to three Popular Gusts posts, but I have trouble getting the pingbacks to work, and I've been informed that using comments on others' blogs to link back to my own posts makes Roboseyo, DokdoIsOurs, and Baby Jesus cry, so I didn't do that.

And without that baseline, I wasn't prepared to get jump into the discussion on those posts I linked to.

kushibo said...

King Baeksu wrote:
95, I would describe you as a "soft Korean nationalist." Is this a mischaracterization?

No. I'm a contrarian scourge. You should hear me rip into nationalist Koreans defending the status quo or nationalist sentiment against Japan or the US.

King Baeksu said...

95, if your academic career doesn't work out, I think you'd make an excellent politician.

You "duck and weave" better than Ali!

kushibo said...

Yep, I anticipated both this post and your critique of my absence from other posts an entire week in advance just so I'd have cover. I'm that good.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Dart:
Thanks for that direct link - I'll add it to the post.

That link for me downloads a file called 2008
You have to rename it 2008.zip to see the Excel spreadsheets inside.

matt said...

Thanks for pointing that out - I made a note of it in the post.

Otherwise, I'd be thrilled if we could stay on topic.

Regarding the H1N1 post, I wrote about Hagwons as a 'social vector' of the common cold a year and a half ago, before there was much worry about flu contagion. Just saying.

As for immigration, I'm not going to lean out as far as 'no one is illegal', simply as a matter of realism and knowledge that states will claim the right to deport who they wish. I do think that some sort of allowance should be made for those who were brought in under the industrial trainee system, (especially those who have been here for years - or decades), as it was practically set up to encourage people to become illegal. The current EPS is only three years and while conditions are improved somewhat, the high brokers' fees still make it difficult to earn much in that short of time. I'd heard it was possibly going to be extended to 5 years, which would be fairer.

As it stands now, multiculturalism is for ethnic Koreans (especially from North America, though the H-2 visa has made it easier for Korean Chinese to work here (I don't know its limitations) and foreign spouses - especially wives. Everyone else can only stay a short time, unless they have money (investors).

There would be less to criticize in this system if they weren't calling it 'multiculturalism'. Perhaps it's similar to '화이팅!', which sounds like 'fighting' but doesn't mean the same thing at all. Or maybe it's like Park Chung-hee's 'Korean style of democracy.'

(That said, what is the Korean word for 'multiculturalism'?)

I suppose it would be an interesting study to actually ask state and civil society actors exactly what their definition of multiculturalism is.

King Baeksu said...

"What is the Korean word for 'multiculturalism'?"

"Our-way-or-the-highway-ism"?

Just kidding: "다문화주의"

The Chinese character used for "다" is "多," meaning "all" or "everything."

kushibo said...

I thought 多 meant "many."

The hantcha for "all" would be 全, wouldn't it?

I think that 다 to mean "all" is a 순한국어 word, isn't it?

Asking, not saying. My Korean language has atrophied while in Hawaii, replaced by Japanese.

King Baeksu said...

http://endic.naver.com/search.nhn?query_euckr=&dic_where=endic&mode=all&kind=&query=%B4%D9%28%D2%FD%29&x=0&y=0

http://hanja.naver.com/hanja?q=多

kushibo said...

Your first link (for 다) shows "all" or "everything" as the second meaning, but I'm fairly certain that's not a 한자 word but a 순한국어 word that is not represented by 多.

The second link (for 多) shows the various meanings of 多, but it doesn't appear they are "all" or "everything."

The Naver dictionary link for "multicultural" shows that it is indeed a 한자 word (多文化主義), so the 한자 meaning would apply.

Like I said, I'm not a Korean language expert and my Korean skills atrophy every day I'm in Hawaii, but a native-speaking Japanese I just spoke to confirmed that 多 as a kanji would not represent all or every.

King Baeksu said...

95, yes, the first dictionary meaning for "多" is "많을 다" or "많다" which means "many" or "numerous." But when I plugged in "다(多)" into Naver's English dictionary, "all/everything" was the main and most logical option that came up.

In general, I try to be more rigorous and thorough when writing about such things, as opposed to just commenting in passing on blogs. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

King Baeksu said...

Here's a picture of the event:

http://cafefiles.naver.net/20091106_15/poohkang74_1257472664556BlDfa_jpg/11%BF%F9_5%C0%CF_042_poohkang74.jpg

About 45 or 50 people came overall, and the response was generally very positive and receptive. About a half dozen expats also came, from Canada, Germany, the US, India and Indonesia, and we had a nice meal of bulgogi and beers afterwards with my publisher -- good stuff!

Peter Kim said...

"What is the Korean word for 'multiculturalism'?"

King Baeksu was right. Muticulturalism is translated into Korean as “다문화주의”

Multi- : 다, cultural: 문화, -ism: 주의

Here are similar examples:

Multiple personality disorder: 다중인격장애(多重人格障碍)
Multiple ID: 다중 아이디(多重-)
Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire: 다면적 성격검사 (多面的性格檢査)

kushibo said...

Peter Kim wrote:
King Baeksu was right. Muticulturalism is translated into Korean as “다문화주의”

That "multiculturalism" is translated into Korean as 다문화주의 was never in dispute.

Max C said...

I've put that spreadsheet on Google Docs for ease of access (hope I got the right one):

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AhdspDDBeI2bdHIyODVjMjh1cC1uSEg2cVVXbHFuM2c&hl=en

matt said...

That's great, thanks! I linked it above...