The transnational identities and ethnocultural capital of Zainichi residing in Vancouver, Canada

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The zainichi are descendents of colonial Koreans in Japan. This thesis employs sernistructured interviews, transnational theory and Bourdieu's conception of cultural capital to construct a qualitative analysis of zainichi identity representations. This thesis suggests that symbolic Koreanness acts as a severe 'deficit' that is frequently held against one's equal inclusion in Japan because Japan's national symbolic structure seems to exclude the possibility that zainichi can be fully Japanese, and that an undeniable, systemic pattern of zainichi suffering has arisen in Japan partly through a malfeasance in the state's wielding of symbolic power. Transnationalism, and the Bourdiean concepts of cultural capital and practice are employed to investigate the apparent paradox of a zainichi acquisition of formidable Japanese cultural capital and generally equally large deficits in the capital necessary to gain them distinction or membership in Korea or a Korean diaspora, combined with their being identified as symbolic representatives of Korea.

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Sociology/Anthropology Department - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)