Forced Migrants and Their Connection to Their Homeland: A Case Study of Inter-Country Adoptions and Cultural-Discursiveness in Second Modern Transformation in East Asia

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Mari SHIBA , Sociology, Japan Society Promotion of Science, Nagoya, Japan
The forced migrants, as Castle (2008) noted, have dramatically grown in numbers in relation to the changing global order. One of the forms of forced migration we should take note of is the trafficking of people across international boundaries for the purposes of exploitation, which includes the children expected to fill the “vacancy in a family” through inter-country adoptions. Meanwhile, human security counts on culture as having an initiative role in establishing the stability of permanent peace. The Hague Convention insists that it is in the "best interest of the child" to keep the inter-country adoptees in touch with the culture of their origin. However, some Korean adoptees have found themselves in another situation. Their culture transformation has been such that they perceive themselves as having been “forced to be separated from their biological mothers and to relinquish their Korean nationality." This had led them into forming a global movement that demands legislation of the Dual Citizenship Act and rights for unwed mothers in Korea.

The objective of this research is to show the process how the forced-migration group, that here will be referred to as inter-country adoptees from East Asia, came to be the subject in a cultural-discursiveness of ‘second modern transformation (Han and Shim 2010),’ which incorporates global risks, individualizations and cosmopolitanizations. In particular, I will examine the reasons why the adoptees can be counted as forced migrants while referring to the Korean adoptees’ statements in the movements. I will also draw attention to their values and social capitals acquired in the Western countries and their influence on Asian traditional cultural beliefs through the movements, which could be a potential to reform the social structure. Based on this discussion, I will make an implication on their leading roles in the second modern transformation in East Asia.