To be White Korean: Race, Masculinities, and Nationalism in Global Korean Ice Hockey

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Yeomi CHOI, Korea National Sport University, Republic of Korea
Transnational sport migration constructs an imagined national community driven by flexibly attuned citizenship (Ong, 1999). In addition to sporting individuals’ aspiration to move across borders, governments play a crucial role in the process of recruitment and placement of the sport professionals to strengthen their national power. Since 2011, the South Korean government has been allowing outstanding athletes to attain Korean citizenship. By implementing policy called ‘Special Naturalization,’ more than twenty athletes were naturalized in Korea, many of whom will represent Team Korea at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. However, given the historical racial and ethnic homogeneity within Korean society (Lee, Jackson, & Lee, 2007), this new flexible citizenship is controversial, as it challenges hegemonic discourses of nationalism, neoliberalism, and global Koreanness. For this presentation, I focus on the Korean national ice hockey team, which comprises the greatest number of naturalized athletes, to explore the newly imagined white Korean subjectivities. In doing so, I investigate discursively constructed immigrant citizenship of hockey player migrants in relation to socio-cultural contexts of gender, race, class, and sexuality through analyzing media coverage and political documents.