The Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York City / Edition 1

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Overview

Korean immigrants to the United States establish their own small businesses at a rate exceeding that of immigrants from any other nation, with more than one third of all Korean immigrant adults involved in small businesses. Kyeyoung Park examines this phenomenon in Queens, New York, tracing its historical bases and exploring the transformation of Korean cultural identity prompted by participation in an enterprise. Park documents the ways in which Korean immigrants use entrepreneurship to improve the quality of their lives, focusing on their concerns and anxieties, as well as their joys.The concept of "anjong" is crucial to the lives of first-generation Korean Americans in Queens, Park explains. The word may be translated as "establishment," "stability," or "security," and it identifies a particular concept of success through which Koreans make sense of the American ideology of opportunity. What they seek is not great wealth or social position but rather the creation of their own small businesses as a way of realizing the American dream. The pursuit of "anjong" is important enough to justify changes in gender and kinship relations, resulting in the rise of a Korean American women-centered and sister-initiated kinship structure. Commitment to the concept has also inspired a different understanding of class, ethnicity, and race, and stimulated new religious ideas and practices.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a useful ethnographic study of anticipation, adaptation, and acculturation, and offers a contemporary perspective on an old process: that genesis of a new 'hyphenated' ethnic group."—Choice

"This book, written by an anthropologist, is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Korean Americans. . . . The author's keen observation and thoughtful interpretation of the changes in family and kinship organizations among Korean immigrants are quite impressive."—Won Moo Hurh, International Migration Review

"A welcome addition to the growing literature on Korean immigrant entrepreneurship."—American Journal of Sociology

"Park provides a fresh angle of viewing the consequences of Korean business."—Contemporary Sociology

"This is an excellent study that enriches our understanding of the experiences of Korean immigrants who have been striving to succeed in America's urban environment. Park writes with sensitivity yet objectivity, using the information drawn from her interviews to provide a rich portrayal of the Korean immigrant's lives and thoughts 'in all their contradictory aspects.'"—New York History

"Kyeyoung Park has done a careful study of Korean immigrants in Queens. . . . She has provided us with a valuable work on a growing community in the United States and its mixed response to adjusting in a new land with different values. It is clearly written and will be of interest to both the scholarly and the general reader."—Aaron W. Godfrey, Asian Thought and Society. January-April, 2000

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801483912
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Tables
Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Korean Migration to America: Dependent Development and American Fever 7
3 The Gravitation to Small Business 36
4 Establishment and the Domestic Cycle 71
5 The Rise of Sisters in Korean America: The Shift to Women-Centered Kin Organization 94
6 Women's Changing Viewpoints: The Pursuit of Human Dignity 113
7 Conceptions of Race and Ethnicity: Workplace Encounters 139
8 Political Processes 155
9 The Comforts of Christianity for Korean Immigrants: Religion and Reproduction of Small Business Activity 183
10 Conclusion 201
Glossary 207
Appendix 211
References 215
Index 225
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