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Service Economies

Service Economies: Militarism, Sex Work, and Migrant Labor in South Korea

Jin-kyung Lee
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Service Economies
    Book Description:

    Service Economies examines how working-class labor occupies a central space in linking the United States and Asia to South Korea’s changing global position from a U.S. neocolony to a subempire. Foregrounding gender, sexuality, and race, Jin-kyung Lee reimagines the South Korean economic ‘miracle’ as a global and regional articulation of industrial, military, and sexual proletarianization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7518-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Proletarianizing Sexuality and Race
    (pp. 1-36)

    In the post-1945 period, as the United States emerged as a superpower it created and implemented expansive programs of economic development in the Third World, often accompanied by military force. With the end of World War II, the United States immediately engaged in two consecutive hot wars against communism: first, on the Korean peninsula, and then in Vietnam and the larger Southeast Asian region as it simultaneously confronted in a cold war its most important Asian enemy, communist China. The U.S. wars in Asia, the “production of destruction,”¹ a lucrative business in and of itself, also laid the indispensable groundwork...

  5. 1 Surrogate Military, Subempire, and Masculinity: South Korea in the Vietnam War
    (pp. 37-78)

    It is a little-known fact in the U.S. remembrance of the Vietnam War that between 1965 and 1973 the Park Chung Hee regime of South Korea dispatched a total of over three hundred thousand troops and over one hundred thousand civilian workers to Vietnam.¹ Of the nations that responded to President Lyndon Johnson’s call for an international coalition and commitment of combat troops—Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, and South Korea—South Korea emerged, by far, as the largest contributor, helping the United States deflect the charges of a racist war.² In the current U.S. war in Iraq, South...

  6. 2 Domestic Prostitution: From Necropolitics to Prosthetic Labor
    (pp. 79-124)

    This chapter explores literary and popular culture representations of “domestic prostitution” from 1970s South Korea. By situating “domestic prostitution”—in contradistinction to prostitution for the U.S. military, the topic of the next chapter—in the context of the massive mobilization of young female labor under the military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee, this chapter considers the “transnationality” of nontransnational work, or the ways in which “domestic” prostitution existed in inextricable relation to the more obviously transnational labors involved in the process of globalizing industrialization. By contextualizing prostitution in relation to other female working-class labors, the chapter also seeks to illuminate...

  7. 3 Military Prostitution: Gynocentrism, Racial Hybridity, and Diaspora
    (pp. 125-184)

    The numerous American military bases in South Korea constitute only a small segment of the United States’ military presence in Asia, part of “a single security chain”: “the ‘Pacific Rim’ must be strung with a necklace of American-controlled military bases: from Anchorage to San Diego, Hawaii, Vladivostok, Seoul, Yokohama, Cam Rahn Bay, Subic Bay, and Clark, Wellington, Belau, and Kwajalein.”¹ Immediately after the withdrawal of the Japanese in August of 1945, the United States’ military occupation of the southern half of the Korean peninsula began. Since the end of the U.S. military government’s rule with the founding of the Republic...

  8. 4 Migrant and Immigrant Labor: Redefining Korean Identity
    (pp. 185-232)

    The history of modern Korea has been shaped by harsh colonization, participation in a series of wars—the Asia–Pacific Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War—national division, and rapid industrialization, all of which entailed a violent social upheaval. Given this context, it is not surprising that one of the persistent themes in modern Korean literature is indeed that of exile, migration, and diaspora. Whether in “domestic” or “transnational” contexts, the sorrows of exile, nomadism, and homesickness pervade colonial and postcolonial literature, all the way up to the 1980s. And the experience of migration has always had, of...

  9. Postscript: The Exceptional and the Normative in South Korean Modernization
    (pp. 233-236)

    If Japan’s reemergence as an economic superpower in the 1960s and ’70s was touted as an instance of a model minority nation-state,¹ South Korea, along with other Asian “tiger” economies, followed in Japan’s footsteps in the late ’80s and ’90s, another case of fulfilling the myth of the model Asian minority nation-state in the global capitalist context. In this last section of the book, in an effort to think through the in/validity of such discursive constructions, I would like to place South Korean development in the broader transnational context of the postwar era and consider briefly the ways in which...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 237-270)
  11. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 271-286)
  12. Index
    (pp. 287-306)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 307-307)