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Jingyi Li


Doktorandin/ PhD candidate (Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka)

PhD Project "Belonging in Migration: Korean Chinese as International Laborers"

Research interests: Transnational migration, belonging, ethnicity, identity, emotion, psychological anthropology, historical anthropology

Regional focus: Korea, China, East Asia

Sponsored by: Elsa-Neumann Scholarship

Fieldwork supported by: Korea Foundation

PhD Project "Belonging in Migration: Korean Chinese as International Laborers"

This project focuses on the topic of belonging as a dynamic emotion and feeling in return migration. The work investigates Korean Chinese workers born between the 1960s and the 1980s, as well as their sense of belonging shaped in migration from Northeast China to South Korea after the early 1980s.

Korean Chinese are ethnic Koreans who migrated from the Korean Peninsula in large scale after the 1910s, and have been living in Northeast China for a century as Chinese citizens. In the past three decades, over 600 thousand out of 1.8 million Korean Chinese moved back to South Korea and made efforts to work for the so-called “3D jobs”: the difficult, dirty and dangerous work. They aim to achieve wealth accumulation and to raise their social status in their previous homeland, a country that they were both familiar with and estranged.

This research intends to find out how their sense of belonging was shaped and negotiated in the process of return migration. The anthropological fieldwork and qualitative research has been conducted in Northeast China, and will be continued in Seoul, South Korea in 2021.


Berlin Southern Theory Lecture