Project: Lene Myong

(Trans)formations of Kinship: Transnational Adoption, Affect, and Migration


By Lene Myong

Since the 1990s a growing number of adult transnational Korean adoptees have chosen to relocate to Korea for shorter or longer periods of time. The process of relocation often entails rearticulations of kinship and relatedness which reach beyond the dichotomy of social and biological kin. In Korea many adoptees become part of social networks from where they establish new forms of relatedness, e.g. through friendship, political activism, and romantic love. This project focuses on these (trans)formations of kinship and relatedness by asking questions such as: How do adult Korean adoptees experience the affective and embodied processes of relocation and migration between Korea and their adoptive country? And what are the political implications of relocation – not just in terms of ‘lived life’ and collective agency, but on transnational adoption as a social and affective economy embedded in capitalist logics, nationalism, and racial politics. The empirical material will include qualitative interviews with Korean adoptees as well as memoirs, blogs, and visual art projects engaging with relocation, adoption, activism, and community building.


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