Toward Transnational Citizenship in East Asia: Taiwan, South Korea and China

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jaeyoun WON, Yonsei University, South Korea
This paper explores a new alternative way of conceputalizing the issue of migration in East Asia, base upon the large scale social transformation since 1990's - post- authoritarian transformation in Taiwan, post-socialist transformation in mainland China, and neo-liberalization in South Korea. These large social events all linked with one another, and the case of overseas Chinese in South Korea entails this transnational inter-connection in East Asia. Citizenship in South Korea is blood-based by descent, thus overseas Chinese in South Korea hold Taiwanese passports with Chinese ethnicity though they wer born in South Korea. Their transnational multiplicity includes Shandong province as origin, South Korea as settlement and then birthplace, and Taiwanese for their membership. It is a very complex trifurcating citizenship which goes beyond the boundary of one single nation-state. They have become "strangers" in their own birthplace and have gone through the process of exclusion and marginalization. However, from 1990s, there have been some changes. First, Taiwan went through the major changes - it has brought the rise of independent Taiwanese identity. For overseas Chinese in South Korea, this means that Taiwan stops being a safe heaven for them since they lack "authenticity" as Taiwanse. Second, the opening up and the reform of PRC, and following normalization of the diplomatic relations with South Korea had opened new opportunities for them to be a bridge between PRC and South Korea. Third, the South Korean government initiated the relaxation of their rigid, discriminatory policies against them after 1997 IMF financial crises. These large scale social transformation in each country are socially interconnected cultural "events" in William Sewell's sense, challenging the old notion of national citizenship. This paper attempts to understand these transformations, and argues that migration should be understood within the context of the large scale social "events."