Description

In the past ten years, China has rapidly emerged as South Korea's most important economic partner. With the surge of goods and resources between the two countries, large waves of Korean migrants have opened small ethnic firms in Beijing's Koreatown, turning a once barren wasteland into the largest Korean enclave in the world. The Cost of Belonging: An Ethnography of Solidarity and Mobility in Beijing's Koreatown fills a critical gap in East Asian and migration studies through an investigation of how the rise of transnationalism has impacted the social and economic lives of South Koreans searching for wealth and stability in China. Based off in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, this book studies the tensions, relationships, and perceptions in the ethnic enclave of Wangjing between Korean Chinese cultural brokers and South Koreans starting out as entrepreneurs. Expanding upon classic anthropological theories of community and space, Yoon broadens our understanding of the migrant middle class in the era of global capitalism and neoliberal markets. The transnational enclave was once an incubator of the middle class dream, but does it continue to provide its inhabitants with the emotional resources to achieve both wealth and community? The Cost of Belonging challenges theoretical assumptions that transnationalism leads to a renaissance of ethnic identity and greater opportunities for migrants, unpacking how these entrepreneurs and dreamers coexist and evolve, both emotionally and financially, in the era of globalization.

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