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University of Hawaii Press, The
The Melodrama of Mobility: Women, Talk, and Class in Contemporary South Korea / Edition 1

The Melodrama of Mobility: Women, Talk, and Class in Contemporary South Korea / Edition 1

by Nancy Abelmann, Jean Cote


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How do people make sense of their world in the face of the breakneck speed of contemporary social change? Through the lives and narratives of eight women, The Melodrama of Mobility chronicles South Korea's experience of just such dizzyingly rapid development. Abelmann captures the mood, feeling, and language of a generation and an era while providing a rare window on the personal and social struggles of South Korean modernity. Drawing also from television soap operas and films, she argues that a melodramatic sensibility speaks to South Korea's transformation because it preserves the tension and ambivalence of daily life in unsettled times. The melodramatic mode helps people to wonder: Can individuals be blamed for their social fates? How should we live? Who can say who is good or bad? By combining the ethnographic tools of anthropology, an engagement with prevailing sociological questions, and a literary approach to personal narratives, The Melodrama of Mobility offers a rich portrait of the experience of compressed modernity in the non-West.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824827496
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date: 09/30/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

1Introduction: The Melodrama of Mobility1
2The Eight Women33
3Key Words59
4Class Work: Education Stories100
5Social Mobility: "Facts" and "Fictions"132
6Personality Speaking164
7Gendering Displacement: Men, Masculinity, and the Nation187
8All in the Family: Class Distances and Divides214
9When It's All Said and Done ...240
10Conclusion: Living Through Compressed Modernity281

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