Korean-Chinese migrant workers and the politics of Korean nationalism

Byoungha Lee, Jun Young Choi, Jungmin Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Why has Korean migration policy been ethnicized? This research mainly aims to explain ethnic preference in Korea's immigration policy through the lens of Korean nationalism. The influx of ethnic Koreans in China (or Joseonjok) since the early 1990s has created a new dilemma for the South Korean government, which has long claimed to be the only legitimate polity of the Korean nation. The discrepancy between the legal citizenship and ethnicity of the Korean-Chinese workers in Korean society has forced the Korean state to redefine both legal and discursive national boundaries. This study analyzes the bifurcation of the Korean state discourses regarding Korean-Chinese workers in Korean society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-412
Number of pages18
JournalPacific Focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Immigration policy
  • Joseonjok
  • Nationalism
  • South Korea


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