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Be(com)ing Korean in the United States: Exploring Ethnic Identity Formation Through ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Be(com)ing Korean in the United States:

Chapter 1

Introduction

The impetus to conduct this research on being and becoming Korean in the United States is a very personal one and, in many ways, a search for my own self and identity. This search has led me to a group of young Koreans in the United Sates who have embarked on a similar journey to understand what it is to be Korean outside of the borders of Korea and how we view ourselves in relation to constructions of home. While they may not necessarily share my personal background, they too have explored many of the same questions about what makes us who we are in the contexts of our families, peers, neighborhoods, nationstate(s), and ultimately, the globalized world.

The process of ethnic identity formation is mediated by macro-level processes of social identification based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation in the context of social processes and practices of positively constructing and claiming notions of Koreanness. Through the constant negotiation between processes of identification and practices of identity construction, we are able to locate ourselves both spatially and temporally as people of Korean descent in the United States.