Veronica Barrera (Feminist Studies PhD, Committee Member)
Memoria Viva: An Ethnographic Recounting of Memory Workers in Chile
Bonnie Tilland (Anthropology, PhD, Committee Member)
Hateful Bonds, Heart-Warming Bonds: Dramatic Redistribution of Affective Weight in the Twenty-first Century South Korean Family
My research focuses on family strategies for success under an increasingly competitive neoliberal paradigm in South Korea, using representations of family life in public discourse in order to illustrate drastic shifts in family values. My dissertation provides in-depth ethnographic insight into the affective symbols at work in perceptions of “the Korean family.” Utilizing long-term fieldwork methods conducted with the support of the Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship, I argue that “traditional Korean values” and signifiers of global cosmopolitan citizenship circulate as overlapping sentimental structures, structures that settle on the family as a site of possibility. The sentiment put into circulation by televisual media discourses challenges consumers to harness their emotions to better perform affective labor within the family, but often produces unpredictable desires, disrupting nation-family-capital linkages. I analyze the narratives of women in their most active years of reproductive labor (30s-50s), reading their life stories alongside fictional depictions.