Presentation 2

“Contesting the Politics of Containment:
Marriage Migrant Women and the Negotiation of Citizenship in South Korea”

Dr. Hae Yeon Choo

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Faculty Member of
the Asian Institute and the Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto


This presentation situates the experiences of marriage migrant women in South Korea within South Korea’s regime of migration control that includes both labor and marriage migrants. I refer to this regime as a regime of containment. By examining the practice of immigration crackdowns based on racial conspicuousness and the class composition of neighborhoods, I show how immigration raids operate as a measure not only to enforce the state’s non-settlement policy and to deport undocumented migrants but also to contain and discipline migrants—with or without legal status—in the shadows of citizenship and to enforce social and spatial boundaries for migrants’ practice of rights, belonging, and access to public space. I then show how marriage migrant women have challenged such containment by utilizing the discourse of maternal citizenship, human rights, and multiculturalism.