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Multiculturalism in South Korea: A Critical Assessment

Multiculturalism in South Korea: A Critical Assessment Journal of Contemporary Asia Vol. 40, No. 2, May 2010, pp. 337–346 COMMENTARY Multiculturalism in South Korea: A Critical Assessment IAIN WATSON Department of NGO Studies, Graduate School of International Studies, Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea The policies that are included under the terms multiculturalism, cultural diversity and ‘‘celebrating difference’’ are engaging substantial political debate in contem- porary South Korea. Multicultural policies are often thought to represent the maturing of liberal democracy in South Korea since its institutional inception in 1987. Such a view is based on the promotion of cross-cultural education programmes, changes to immigration legislation and the promotion of ‘‘tolerance’’ and ‘‘acceptance’’ programmes of people from different cultures who, by definition, have different cultural worldviews but who reside in a sovereign South Korean state. Terms such as ‘‘global Korea’’ seem to indicate a new approach to inclusive South Korean development. The problem is that state-led multiculturalism as promoted by the ruling party, the conservative Grand National Party (GNP), has been approached as a matter of culturally ‘‘elite’’ politics, which is separated from the concrete economic and political realities faced by foreigners in South Korea. For the conservative government, South Korean nationalism and democracy is fundamen- tally tied http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Contemporary Asia Taylor & Francis

Multiculturalism in South Korea: A Critical Assessment

Journal of Contemporary Asia , Volume 40 (2): 10 – May 1, 2010
10 pages

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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1752-7554
eISSN
0047-2336
DOI
10.1080/00472331003600549
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal of Contemporary Asia Vol. 40, No. 2, May 2010, pp. 337–346 COMMENTARY Multiculturalism in South Korea: A Critical Assessment IAIN WATSON Department of NGO Studies, Graduate School of International Studies, Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea The policies that are included under the terms multiculturalism, cultural diversity and ‘‘celebrating difference’’ are engaging substantial political debate in contem- porary South Korea. Multicultural policies are often thought to represent the maturing of liberal democracy in South Korea since its institutional inception in 1987. Such a view is based on the promotion of cross-cultural education programmes, changes to immigration legislation and the promotion of ‘‘tolerance’’ and ‘‘acceptance’’ programmes of people from different cultures who, by definition, have different cultural worldviews but who reside in a sovereign South Korean state. Terms such as ‘‘global Korea’’ seem to indicate a new approach to inclusive South Korean development. The problem is that state-led multiculturalism as promoted by the ruling party, the conservative Grand National Party (GNP), has been approached as a matter of culturally ‘‘elite’’ politics, which is separated from the concrete economic and political realities faced by foreigners in South Korea. For the conservative government, South Korean nationalism and democracy is fundamen- tally tied

Journal

Journal of Contemporary AsiaTaylor & Francis

Published: May 1, 2010

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