Reinventing Family: Household Diversification and the Making of Modern South Korea

Monday, April 17, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Paul Chang
Reinventing Family: Household Diversification and the Making of Modern South Korea

The transformation of family patterns in advanced capitalist societies has received much attention. Juxtaposed to the relatively positive appraisal of “modern families” in the West, alarm and anxiety characterize the discourse surrounding family change in East Asia. In his talk, Professor Chang discusses the historical and contemporary mechanisms driving the diversification of family structures in South Korea, a representative case of “demographic crisis” in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the first part of the talk, Professor Chang aims to show that by 1997, on the eve of financial ruin, Korea had already experienced dramatic economic, political, and cultural transformations that became the foundations for family change. The talk then shifts to a discussion of the impact of post-crisis neo-liberalization and precarity on new family arrangements, including single-parent households, multicultural families, unmarried singles, and the isolation of senior citizens.

Headshot for Paul Chang

Paul Y. Chang is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University and was the 2019-2020 Joy Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. He is the author of Protest Dialectics: State Repression and South Korea’s Democracy Movement, 1970-1979 (Stanford University Press) and co-editor of South Korean Social Movements: From Democracy to Civil Society (Routledge). His research on social movements, state repression, and Korean society has appeared in several flagship disciplinary and area studies journals. His current project explores the emergence of non-traditional family structures in South Korea.