This paper explores the process of acculturation and ethnic identity formation among 1.5- and 2nd-generation Koreans living in New Zealand. This study begins with the observation that they tend to show strengthened ethnic identity and co-ethnic preference as they move to higher-level schools. This study employs two social psychological perspectives of social identity theory and acculturation theory to comprehend the emerging ethnic identity among ethnic Korean New Zealanders. Using qualitative research methods, this study is based on in-depth interviews with twenty 1.5-generation and ten 2nd-generation Korean New Zealanders. Our findings highlight the acculturation process of the participants by identifying a particular context for establishing social identity as a ‘Korean.’ In a specific context, the participants tend to perceive their ethnicity as a visible social stigma that conveys a devalued social identity. Their increased ethnic consciousness drives them in one of two directions: (1) denying or suppressing their ethnicity in response to negative connotations of their social identity in the eyes of local people, especially dominant Pākehā peers; or (2) adhering to their ethnic identity and reinforcing co-ethnic peer relations. However, the enhanced multi-ethnic and multi-cultural climate in New Zealand and the increased awareness of Korean popular culture among local New Zealanders provide the social context for developing a hybrid or hyphenated identity as Kowi, Korean Kiwi, or Kiwi Korean.
Lynne Soon-Chean Park, University of Auckland, New Zealand
About the Presenter(s)
Dr Lynne Soon-Chean Park is a University Postdoctoral Fellow or Instructor at University of Auckland in New Zealand
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