Eros and Modernity: Convulsions of the Heart in Modern Korea

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Baldacchino, Jean-Paul (2008) Eros and Modernity: Convulsions of the Heart in Modern Korea. Asian Studies Review, 32 (1). pp. 99-122. ISSN 1467-8403


Modern and Loving (in) it. In a recent article sociologist Hahm2 charts the transition to current attitudes to marriage in Korea. Love is essential, marriage is optional! Employment is necessary, marriage is a choice! These slogans clearly show the values of today’s younger generation. Until recently, people married ‘‘as a traditional custom’’. Nowadays, more people give reasons like ‘‘to gain independence from my parents’’, ‘‘to gain psychological and emotional stability’’, or even ‘‘because I met someone I loved’’ (Hahm, 2003, p. 26). Hahm writes of the decline of ‘‘arranged marriages’’ in favour of ‘‘love marriages’’.3 According to the Korean National Statistical Office the proportion of ‘‘love marriages’’ has increased from 36 to 55 per cent in the last decade. Based on survey data, Hahm contrasts traditional Korean marriage as a union of two families with modern Korean marriage as a union of two individuals founded on love (Hahm, 2003, p. 29). Similarly, Kim found that three-quarters of the upper-middle class couples in her sample in Seoul in the 1990s had entered into love marriages (Kim, 1993). This provides a stark contrast to the world of rural4 Korea forty years ago, where love marriage could, in the most extreme cases, mean banishment (Brandt, 1971, p. 96).

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/10357820701871922
Official URL
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1601 Anthropology
Historical > SEO Classification > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
Keywords ResPubID15446. marriage, Korea, younger generation, arranged marriages, love marriages, traditional Korean marriage, modern Korean marriage
Citations in Scopus 12 - View on Scopus
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