The Impact of Government's Integration Policy on Services of Religious NGOs for Immigrants

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
SangJi LEE, IOM-MRTC, South Korea
Chang Won LEE, IOM-MRTC, South Korea
This study examines the dynamics between religious NGOs for immigrants in the context of multicultural society in Korea through the theory of ‘governmentality'. As the proportion of immigrants continues to increase, the government has implemented various policies to the adaptation and the integration of these immigrants simultaneously with the active participation from a number of NGOs, in the dimension of civil society. In particular, religious NGOs play a pivotal role in immigrant-related, in which these activities are profoundly influenced by the government policies.

This research attempts to analyze the impact of government’s integration policy among three major religious NGOs (namely Catholicism, Protestantism, and Buddhism) in application to the immigrants through the theory of ‘governmentality’. The qualitative methods are utilized such as the participant observations and in-depth interviews, between October 2014 to October 2015, with the leaders and members of seven religious NGOs including Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, and non-affiliate organizations in the local community.

Our findings reveal that although the three religious NGOs have different values and objectives initially, the differences have decreased to uniformity as the government’s integration policies heavily intervened in services of the religious NGOs. Religious NGOs have demonstrated implicit or explicit tensions and competition between groups. Competition stemming from the tension has been intensified due to the effect of governmentality. These tensions and competition result in a duplication of activities between groups as well as restricting themselves on activities to realize their own value. NGOs for immigrants in the local community exercised various efforts in alignment to overcome the governmentality. In conclusion, this study significantly contributes to the social analyses on the dynamic relations between the government policy and NGOs’ activity as well as between NGOs in the local community setting and the social significance of building solidarity based on mutual trust of religion-based NGOs to adhere to their own values.