Organized Panel Session
There are currently over three-hundred thousand marriage migrants residing in South Korea today. Intended to help ameliorate the “bachelor crisis” – due to limited marriage prospects of rural and under-privileged Korean men – women from China and other Southeast nations have married into Korea in unprecedented numbers. For various reasons, including dominant patriarchal values, strong in-law customs, and other cultural barriers, many marriage migrants report high levels of conflict within their families and in the larger society. In order to better understand the struggles that marriage migrants face, we rely on quantitative survey data and qualitative interviews to explore marital satisfaction rates among marriage migrants and how they narrate belonging in Korean society. Preliminary analysis reveals that greater change in socioeconomic status, both moving down and moving up, negatively affects marital satisfaction. Also, strategies to justify belonging in Korean society include redefining Korean identity, obtaining legal protections through citizenship, and emphasizing the contributions that foreigners make to the Korean nation.