Immigrant Incorporation, Technology, and Transnationalism Among Korean American Women

  • Juyeon SonEmail author


The premise of the inevitable incorporation of the newcomers through assimilation is widely accepted among those who study immigrant incorporation, even though ample evidence suggests this premise may be inappropriate to explain the growing complexity of immigrant adaptation processes in an increasingly connected global society. Using focus group data of Korean American women, this study explores how immigrant incorporation patterns may be associated with the use of the Internet for fulfilling social needs and the implications that the findings have in terms of the effect of technology on immigrant incorporation. The results indicate that contemporary Korean American adaptation patterns may be at variance with the conventional expectations of immigrant assimilation. This appears to be an effect of the expanding availability of interactive technology as it facilitates the increasing cultural and social transnational activities that connect immigrants to their country of origin.


Immigration Transnationalism Korean immigrants Acculturation United States 



This research was supported by the Faculty Development Research Program at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Conflict of Interest

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  1. Alba, R., & Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American mainstream: assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Appadurai, A. (1990). Disjuncture and difference in the global cultural economy. Theory, Culture and Society, 7(2), 295–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basch, L., Glick Schiller, N., & Blanc-Szanton, C. (1994). Nations unbound: transnational projects, postcolonial predicaments, and deterritorialized nation-states. Langhorne, PA: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Brubaker, R. (2001). The return of assimilation? Changing perspectives on immigration and its sequels in France, Germany, and the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24(4), 531–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cross, N.A., Kim, K.K., Yu, E. S. H., Chen, E. H., & Kim, J. (2002). Assessment of the diet quality of middle-aged and older adult Korean Americans living in Chicago. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102(4), 552-554.Google Scholar
  6. Glick Schiller, N., Basch, N., & Blanc-Szanton, C. (1995). From immigrant to transmigrant: theorizing transnational migration. Anthropology Quarterly, 68(1), 48–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Glick Schiller, N., Basch, N., & Blanc-Szanton, C. (1992). Transnational-a new analytic framework for understanding migration. In N. Glick Schiller, L. Basch, & C. Blanc-Szanton (Eds.), Towards a transnational perspective on migration: race, class, ethnicity, and nationalism reconsidered (pp. 1-24). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  8. Gordon, M. M. (1964). Assimilation in American life: the role of race, religion, and national origins. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Hurh, W. M., & Kim, K. C. (1984). Adhesive sociocultural adaptation of Korean immigrants in the U.S.: an alternative strategy of minority adaptation. International Journal of Migration Review, 18(2), 188–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hurh, W. M., & Kim, K. C. (1990). Religious participation of Korean immigrants in the United States. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 29(1), 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jang, Y., Kim, G., Chiriboga, D., & Kallimanis, B. (2007). A bidimensional model of acculturation for Korean American older adults. Journal of Aging Studies, 21(3), 267–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jiménez, T. R. (2010). Replenished ethnicity: Mexican Americans, immigration, and identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kazal, R. A. (1995). Revisiting assimilation: the rise, fall, and reappraisal of a concept in American ethnic history. The American Historical Review, 100(2), 437–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kitano, H. H. L., & Daniels, R. (2001). ‘The Koreans’, in Asian Americans: emerging minorities (pp. 120–138). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Lee, S.-K., Sobal, J., & Frongillo, E. A. (2003). Comparison of models of acculturation: the case of Korean Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34(3), 282–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mahler, S. J. (1998). Theoretical and empirical contributions toward a research agenda for transnationalism. In M. P. Smith & L. E. Guarnizo (Eds.), Transnationalism from below (pp. 64-102). Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  17. Min, P. G. (2000). Immigrants’ religion and ethnicity: a comparison of Korean Christian and Indian Hindu immigrants. Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, 2(1), 121–140.Google Scholar
  18. Park, K. (2007). Constructing transnational identities without leaving home: Korean immigrant women’s cognitive border-crossing. Sociological Forum, 22(2), 200–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pessar, P., & Mahler, S. J. (2003). Transnational migration: bringing gender in. International Migration Review, 37(3), 812–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (1996). Immigrant America: a portrait. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: segmented assimilation and its variants. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 530, 74–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Portes, A., Guarnizo, L. E., & Haller, W. J. (2002). Transnational entrepreneurs: an alternative form of immigrant economic adaptation. American Sociological Review, 67(2), 278–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rumbaut, R. G. (1997). Assimilation and its discontents: between rhetoric and reality. International Migration Review, 31(4), 923–960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sandelowski, M. (1994). We are the stories we tell: narrative knowing in nursing practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 12(1), 23–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shin, H., Song, H., Kim, J., & Probst, J. (2005). Insurance, acculturation, and health service utilization among Korean-Americans. Journal of Immigrant Health, 7(2), 65-74.Google Scholar
  26. Sohn, L., & Harada, N. D. (2005). Knowledge and use of preventive health practices among Korean women in Los Angeles County. Preventive Medicine, 41(1), 167-178.Google Scholar
  27. Tsai, J. L., Ying, Y.-W., & Lee, P. A. (2000). The meaning of “being Chinese” and “being American”: variation among Chinese American young adults. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 31(3), 302–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Warner, W., & Srole, L. (1945). The social systems of American ethnic groups. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Waters, M. C., & Jiménez, T. R. (2005). Assessing immigrant assimilation: new empirical and theoretical challenges. Annual Review of Sociology, 31, 105–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhou, M. (1997). Segmented assimilation: issues, controversies, and recent research on the new second generation. International Migration Review, 31(4), 825–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhou, M., & Bankston, C. L. (1998). Growing up American: how Vietnamese children adapt to life in the United States. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin OshkoshOshkoshUSA

Personalised recommendations