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About This Project

Why do I care?

Apart from the obvious reason that there are people suffering, I am interested in the mail-order bride and multicultural family issue in Korea because:

  • It shows how a supposedly autonomous choice (freedom to love and marry) can still be heavily influenced by social structure.
  • It shows how a group that does not have much power in one sphere (market) may be able to wield power in another sphere (family). Or, maybe because they don’t have much power outside the family?
  • It also shows how outgroup members (female, ethnically non-Korean immigrants) are denied their membership in an ingroup (South Korean society) unless they maintain a certain identity (wife).
  • Most importantly, it shows the limits and possibilities of law to change injustice.

What do I want to accomplish?

This project has been created as part of the course called "Systemic Justice" at Harvard Law School. The course explores mind sciences, history, and the law to figure out "interconnections between policy problems and the cycles that contribute to inequality and injustice." What I want to do in this project is to explain the deeper dynamics of the phenomenon and the policy failure. My sense is that patriarchy, ethnocentrism, and the unique role that the institution of family plays in the South Korean society are all playing their roles. In this regard I am trying to examine certain aspects of relative regulations, immigration law, and family law of South Korea. If you have an idea, suggestions, comments, or questions, please reach out to me at hkim [at] llm17.law.harvard.edu.