The Formation of Transnational Identities by Non-Traditional Transnationals: The Case of Korean Military Wives and their Transnational Identitity Formation

By Daehoon Han.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Literature on contemporary immigrants suggest that increasing volume of transnational practices foster identity construction across borders, thereby disjoining geographical space and social space in which identities are constructed and negotiated. While studies pay increasing attention to the linkage between transnational organizing of economic and political activities and that identities among immigrant groups with high level of transnationalism, relatively less attention has been given to transnational identity construction of immigrant groups without high level of transnationalism. This study examines the identity dynamics among Korean military wives who do not have high level of transnationalism but negotiate their identities transnationally by way of various identity practices to imagine themselves as members of multiple communities across national and cultural boundaries. Based on thirty eight in-depth interviews with Korean military wives in the U.S., the study reveals that the non-mobile immigrants created multilayered “imagined communities” which converts their identities to be multiple identities. This study also indicates that this effort is the part of the non-mobile immigrants’ gradual adaptation to the U.S. society and resistance to assimilation.

Keywords: Identity and Identity Politics, Immigrant Women, Korean Women, Transnational Identity

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.249-260. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 643.588KB).

Daehoon Han

Instructor, Department of Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

Daehoon Han is a Doctoral candidate from Sociology Department at the University of Missouri. He taught many sociology courses including Introduction to Sociology, Culture and Identity, and Culture and Civilization of Korea. His research interests include culture and identity, race and ethnicity, immigration, and religion. His current research projects are the transnational migration and its impact on a local Korean community in a Midwest school town in the U.S.

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