This edited collection investigates the mobilities, resettlement practices, and identities of North Korean defectors who have relocated to the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. The contributors to this volume examine the complex nature of defection from North Korea, highlighting the ways in which defectors renegotiate their identities in order to adapt and settle in new societies as well as the implications these differing narratives have on future policy decisions.
HaeRan Shin is professor of geography at Seoul National University.
HaeRan Shin, Kyung,Hyo Chun , Hyunuk Lee
Section 1. Keeping moving - North Korean defectors
Chapter 1. From Linked to Linking Agency: Transnational Ties of North Korean Defectors Living in Japan
Hyunuk Lee, Seok Hyang Kim
Chapter 2: Adaptation of North Korean Defector Families Who Resettled in South Korea after having left the South
Chapter 3: “I opened my eyes” – Female North Korean Defectors’ Journey from Precarity to Empowerment
Section 2. Life outside the Korean Peninsula – North Korean Defectors’ Settlements
Chapter 4: Do They Get Along? Interactions Between North Korean Defectors and South Korean Migrants in London
Chapter 5: Communication of North Korean Defector Families Through Transnational Migration
Chapter 6: De-bordering North Korea - Remittances and Global Networks
Section 3. North Korean Identities Reconstituted as They Muddle Through
Chapter 7: Representation and Self-Presentation of North Korean Defectors in South Korea: Image, Discourse, and Voices
Kyung Hyo Chun
Chapter 8: North Korean Nation-Building Outside North Korea
Conclusion: Looking to the Future
HaeRan Shin and Kyung Hyo Chun
North Korean Defectors in Diaspora broadens the North Korean diaspora scholarship by providing enriching case studies of diverse North Korean defectors not only in South Korea, but also in Japan, the US, and the UK. With such qualitative data, this edited volume suggests that North Korean defectors are not that different from other diasporas or migrants who want to reconnect with their families and friends in their homeland, while struggling to adjust to their lives in their host countries. At the same time, their experience of defection creates unique challenges for North Korean defectors in their new environment. The only common experience that North Koreans in the study share is their defection. The term “defector,” thus, reflects their exclusive status outside of North Korea with clarity. The volume proposes important discussions of three main themes: mobilities, resettlement, and identity construction. In doing so, this book includes not only North Korean defectors’ perspectives, but also their relations with others in terms of extending such arguments.... North Korean Defectors in Diaspora’s special strengths lie in its perspectives toward understanding this evolving community of North Korean defectors and their transnational enclaves by portraying these defectors as active agents who create cultural connections with others, wield influence on their home country (both financially and socially), and reclaim their cultural identities in the process, rather than being passive refugees who had to flee from their own country. It also reflects North Korean defectors’ struggles as a result of their displaced, disconnected status in a new society. As a result, this edited volume suggests that North Koreans’ past experiences and identities in their home country connect and extend to their present and future identities and to their relations with others. Accordingly, the book presents North Korean defectors as potential key players in a unified Korea.
"This informative collection provides very rare, sophisticated accounts of North Koreans’ post-defection lives in various destinations. A must-read for those who want to understand the variegated configuration of North Korean defectors’ identity in their transnational journey."
"Much has been told and written about the plight of North Koreans escaping from the DPRK. Concerned observers assume their story ends when they have arrived in South Korea. Disillusioned with and faced discrimination in South Korean society, many have left South Korea for Japan and Western countries. Based on carefully designed ethnographic research, this excellent edited volume provides a comparative look at North Korean defectors in South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It explores their struggle to reimagine their identity among other diasporic communities as a result of repeated mobilities."