Historical Social Research

Jin-Heon Jung & Eun-Jeung Lee: Division and Unification: Seen through the Eyes of Korean Migrants in Berlin. [Abstract]

Based on qualitative fieldwork among first generation Korean immigrants in Berlin, this article sheds light on their lived experiences of German division and unification. Our research questions are threefold; first, how do these immigrants from the divided Korea perceive the division and unification of Germany? Second, did the fact that the division of Germany could be overcome affect their views on the division and unification of the Korean Peninsula? Third, are there any differences between Koreans in Germany and Koreans in Korea with respect to their views on unification? Our research suggests that different from South Korea, where the discourses in the media and the academia tend to assume sharply antagonistic attitudes, discourses among Koreans in Germany are generally much more supportive of unification. This is because they have a positive perception of German unification in everyday life and, furthermore, have constructed for themselves a future-oriented identity as a people of the Korean Peninsula that will eventually be unified. Korean immigrants in Germany are considerably more optimistic about the possibility of Korean unification than people in South Korea.

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