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Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture

Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea

Virtual Mothering

Authors: Kim, Hosu

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eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-53852-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-53851-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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About this book

This book illuminates the hidden history of South Korean birth mothers involved in the 60-year-long practice of transnational adoption. The author presents a performance-based ethnography of maternity homes, a television search show,an internet forum, and an oral history collection to develop the concept of virtual mothering, a theoretical framework in which the birth mothers' experiences of separating from, and then reconnecting with, the child, as well as their painful,ambivalent narratives of adoption losses, are rendered, felt and registered. In this, the author refuses a universal notion of motherhood. Her critique of transnational adoption and its relentless effects on birth mothers’ lives points to the everyday, normalized, gendered violence against working-class, poor, single mothers in South Korea’s modern nation-state development and illuminates the biopolitical functions of transnational adoption in managing an "excess" population. Simultaneously, her creative analysis reveals a counter-public, and counter-history, proposing the collective grievances of birth mothers. 

                  

About the authors

Hosu Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, with an affiliation in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, USA.  


                   


 

Reviews

   

“This book is a must-read for scholars of adoption, mothering, kinship, gender, and affect studies. It breaks new empirical ground, by bringing into focus the often hidden experiences of birthmothers in transnational adoption and illuminates broader questions of motherhood in contemporary South Korea. It also offers an indispensable framework for understanding how birthmothers come into being at the interface of affect and media technologies.” (Eleana Kim, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine, USA)

“This is a compelling and powerful study of birth mothers in South Korea whose experiences and perspectives have been muted by colonial rescue myths and Confucian patriarchal structures for over sixty years. By the way of a nuanced ethnography taking account of the birth mothers’ presence in and through use of media technologies, Kim has managed to both listen to the previously silenced voices of the birth mothers as well as to develop the concept of virtual mothering, which is a valuable contribution to the field of critical adoption studies.” (Tobias Hubinette, Associate Professor, Intercultural Studies at Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

“Theoretically nuanced and empirically rich, Hosu Kim’s analysis of the political and affective economies structuring the transnational adoption of Korean-born children is a revelation. We are asked to see, but also to witness, the complex layerings of silence, violence, and geopolitical history animating Korean birth mothers’ experiences of social death and enforced separation. Situated at the intersections of global biopolitics and embodied loss, the book offers both a ‘memorial site’ for performative longings, and an astute critique of the structural forces rendering shame as economic development policy. Kim’s aim is nothing less than a ‘transformative knowledge,’ committed to recognizing other forms of mothering, and other practices of scholarship.” (Jackie Orr, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, USA)               

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: From Invisible Mothers to Virtual Mothering

    Kim, Hosu

    Pages 1-31

  • Secure the Nation, Secure the Family

    Kim, Hosu

    Pages 35-77

  • Maternity Homes, the Birthplace of the Virtual Mother

    Kim, Hosu

    Pages 79-111

  • Television Mothers: Birth Mothers Lost and Found in the Search-and-Reunion Narrative

    Kim, Hosu

    Pages 115-143

  • Performing Virtual Mothering and Forging Virtual Kinship

    Kim, Hosu

    Pages 145-187

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-53852-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $100.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-53851-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea
Book Subtitle
Virtual Mothering
Authors
Series Title
Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-53852-9
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-53852-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-53851-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 245
Number of Illustrations and Tables
2 illustrations in colour
Topics