Resumen: This joint research project attempts to explore in an integrated way the little examined transnational Korean communities in the Americas, including those in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. According to informal estimates, there are 50,000 Koreans in Brazil, 15,000 in Argentina, 8,000 in Mexico, and 2,000 in Chile. Based on joint ethnographic (participant observation and ethnographic interviews) and archival analysis, a team of researchers in both Latin American countries and at UCLA will examine how transnationalism is lived and experienced, while recognizing the influence of global economics and media. This project explores whether there is any relationship between transnationality and the presence of Korean institutional identity in these countries. Secondly, we need to document and demonstrate the institutional identity of the Korean community or “Korean-ness” despite the inherent flimsiness of “identity” as a category of analysis. In other words, we need to ask the question of: In what sense does Korean community exist, in terms of the Benedict Andersenian “imagined” associational community? Thirdly, we would like to verify the relationship between the presence of Korean institutional identity and their transnational reach. To paraphrase, we expect to see more Koreans re-migrating to countries where Korean communities already exist, because their transnational reach tends to be path dependent. Finally, we would like to explore the question of whether transnationalism has preserved, intensified, eroded, or hybridized Korean identities.
Coordinadora: Kyeyoung Park
Equipo de investigación: Wonjung Min, Julie Kim, Corina Courtis, Carolina Mera, Mirta Bialogorski, Paula Im y Alfredo Castilla.