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Anti-multiculturalism and the future direction of multicultural education in South Korea

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Abstract

In 2006, the government of The Republic of Korea set out its plan to create a multicultural society in response to the low fertility and demographic changes. The context for the policy was a need to import labor for a rapidly expanding economy but the historical context was one in which cultural homogenization was a feature of the local political and social landscape. The new policy only challenged this historical construction in as much as it sought to integrate and assimilate immigrants into South Korean society. Nevertheless, even with such limited objectives, it has faced many problems. The first problem was that the policy was not accompanied by any anti-discrimination laws so discrimination against migrants remains legal and examples are provided throughout the paper. It also seems that different immigrant groups face different levels of discrimination with white immigrants being more acceptable to locals than people of color. Recently, there have been examples of immigrants becoming politicians and reaching the top of professions such as modeling. Yet, even these successes are still questioned by some, especially a growing anti-multicultural movement that is similar to many populist groups emerging in Europe. Multicultural education is limited in its objectives and by a lack of training for teachers. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for making the current situation more consistent with efforts to recognize Korea’s new multiculturalism.

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Notes

  1. Retrieved from 「Study on Korea’s Multicultural Policy in 2016」, ‘Survey on the perception of multiculturalism in Chungnam Province and its factor analysis’, Korea Multicultural Research Institute

  2. Retrieved from 「2013 Annual Survey」, The Asian Institute for Policy Studies

  3. Jeong, H. S. (2014. February 10th). Controversy over Multicultural Budget and Reverse discrimination. The Joongang. Retrieved from http://news.joins.com/article/13846534

  4. Hwang, B. R. (2016. January 6th). Who is the best member of parliament elected by journalists and associate members? Money Today the300. Retrieved from http://the300.mt.co.kr/newsView.html?no=2016010514077674480

  5. Of course, there is a contrary argument that he deserves his extraordinary career due to his unremitting efforts.

  6. Cha, D. U. (2015. Feburary 12th). “A Fool” “How a Half Korean can not eat Kimchi?” Teacher convicted of giving insults. Yonhapnews. Retrived from http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2015/02/11/0200000000AKR20150211181300372.HTML

  7. Kang, H. K. (2013. May 29th). Documentary features multicultural children’s struggle. The Korean Times. Retrived from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/07/113_136566.html

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Correspondence to Jinhee Kim.

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Kim, J., Jeon, H. Anti-multiculturalism and the future direction of multicultural education in South Korea. Curric Perspect 37, 181–189 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-017-0025-7

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