BEYOND HONORARY WHITENESS: IDEOLOGIES OF BELONGING AND KOREAN ADOPTEE IDENTITIES

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2018

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Abstract

Using Asian Critical Race Theory as a framework, this dissertation examines how Korean adoption contributed to constructions of race – racial meanings and a racial order – and the effects on Korean adoptees’ identity development. This dissertation asks the following questions: What role has Korean adoption played in the U.S. racial formation? What role do various levels of social structure (e.g., media, interpersonal interactions) play in adoptees’ understanding of their belonging, both as it relates to the U.S. and Korea, and how do adoptees resolve any competing messages about their social and national citizenship? And, how do Korean adoptees make-meaning of their adoptee identity? In order to answer these questions, I draw upon three original data sources: 18 months of participant observation, an online survey (N=107), and in-depth interviews (N=37) with Korean adoptee adults.

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