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A Critical Approach to Migration Studies Research Paradigm Research on Everyday Life of North Korean Refugee

김성경 1

1성공회대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The trend of western migration studies in recent years is to find out not only reasons and process of migration, but also the mechanism of complex interactions between races, ethnicities, cultures, economics, politics and etc. in the processes of migration and settlement. This article aims to critically evaluate the major trends of western migration studies, and then proposes the theoretical and methodological framework for researching a North Korean refugee in the level of everyday life. In particular, this article suggests structuration theory, theorized the multifaceted relationships between agency and structure, and ethnographic method for appropriately approaching the issue of North Korean refugee in the process of migration and settlement. By applying the framework of structuration theory, we could understand how the social structures and cultural resources of North Korea society enable North Korean refugees to migrate (or to escape) to South Korea. In addition, this approach provides advantages to explore the relationship between agency and structure in the experience of North Korean refugee in the process of migration/settlement and the process of structuration corresponded to the agency of North Korean refugee within South Korean society. Furthermore, in terms of methodology, this paper suggests the merits of ethnographic method in order to research the relationship between agency and structure in the case of North Korean refugee as it would provide a chance for researcher to build up rapport with North Korean refugee and then be able to conduct a fieldwork (i.e. participant observation and in-depth interview) to grasp their complex experiences of migration/settlement.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.