Women, gender, and social change in South Korea since 1945

Authored by: Laura C. Nelson , Cho Haejoang

Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean History

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415739313
eBook ISBN: 9781315816722
Adobe ISBN: 9781317811497


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In the decades since the end of the Japanese colonial period, gender 1 has been a central factor in social structure and social change in South Korea. Legacies of colonial gender formations lingered long into the post-liberation period, but gendered social role expectations, images, and daily practices for Korean men and women have also been transformed in dramatic ways. These changes themselves have generated reactions that have sought to reconstitute imagined traditions or which have advocated new gender formations. Any attempt to capture this complexity – and the scholarship of these processes – in a single essay will be no more than an overview, and a partial one at that. We have taken this dynamism as our point of reference; the changes to – and because of – gender are taken as guideposts to the more general issue of transformations in South Korean society and culture.

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