Separation and Unification: An Analysis of South Korean Efforts to Integrate North Korean Refugees
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, )|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201809082767
|Publish Date:|| 2018-09-13
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
North Koreans have entered South Korea seeking new lives due to political reasons, severe food shortage, family reunions or economic difficulty since 1953. Hereto, more than 31,000 North Korean refugees have settled in South Korea and the influx has increased steadily despite all adversities in desperate journeys. They are often expected to undergo a successful and smooth transition due to their shared traits, such as language, culture, and ethnicity. However, they have encountered confusions and struggles to integrate into the South. This new social issue caused the government to create policy and programs to support their fruitful integration and simultaneously provide positive interaction opportunities between North and South Korean people in the future, especially when unification finally occurs. This research focuses on attempts of South Korea toward promoting North Korean refugees’ social integration. I raised one main research question and two sub-questions. The main question is ‘How does the South Korean government attempt to integrate North Korean refugees into the society?’ Two sub-questions are ‘What are the policy features of the South Korean government to accommodate the North Korean refugees?’ and ‘What is the legal framework that secures the integration of North Korean refugees?’ I analyzed a government document ‘Manual for the resettlement Support for North Korean Refugees (2016)’ by thematic analysis. A thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) allowed me to recognize themes based on time frame, support contents, and underpinning system. I relied on two theoretical frameworks, Social Integration Indicators of Ager and Strang (2008) to examine policy document and general national identity theories (Verdugo and Milne, 2016) to interpret intentions and goals of the South Korean integration policy for North Korean refugees. The discussion demonstrates that how the policy document considers North Korean refugees as important resources for future unification, arranging policy implementation through public-private collaborations and a comprehensive data management system of the South. Relating policies and laws have been continuously revised for proper functions and people’s needs.
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