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The Social Exclusion of Child-Rearing Unwed Mothers in South Korea

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Handbook of Social Inclusion

Abstract

In South Korean society, child-rearing unwed mothers constitute a very specific minority. They enjoy no specific legal protections to exercise their right to keep and rear their children, nor are there any comprehensive policies in place to promote social acceptance and substantive inclusion of them and their children. This chapter provides an overview of the social exclusion of child-rearing unwed mothers in South Korea, attending to the ways in which legal and social frameworks intersect and have been at times mutually reinforcing. The authors outline and discuss concepts of unwed motherhood, widespread discrimination in multiple social contexts, legislation relevant to unwed mothers and their families, current social services and barriers to accessing these, as well as alternatives to child-rearing. The authors argue that social exclusion involves the multidimensional, processual, and dynamic ways in which individuals are marginalized, and which limit their meaningful participation and sense of belonging in the society in which they strive to craft livable lives. Key to this chapter’s analysis of the social exclusion of child-rearing unwed mothers and their families is the role of pervasive social stigma and shame, which continue to have a deleterious impact on the accessibility of social services (regardless of formal entitlement to those services), sense of belonging, visibility, and social participation.

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Acknowledgment

Author Dr. Gustafsson acknowledges the financial support provided by the Academy of Korean Studies (Project #: AKS-2019-INC-223000X)

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Correspondence to Boon Young Han .

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Han, B.Y., Yang, M.O., Gustafsson, R. (2022). The Social Exclusion of Child-Rearing Unwed Mothers in South Korea. In: Liamputtong, P. (eds) Handbook of Social Inclusion. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89594-5_46

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89594-5_46

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-89593-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-89594-5

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