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Monthly Seminars in Korean Studies


Brown Bag Seminar with   Spring 2014 Graduate Scholarship Awardees

October 22, 2014 (Wed) 1-2 PM


Richard Cho  Ph.D student in Political Science

Research Title"The Role of Pan-Ethnic Identity in Intergroup Cooperation among Korean-American Immigrants"

Project Summary:

The current research study aims at exploring the extent to which Korean immigrants adopt a racial (pan-ethnic) identity upon first coming to the United States and the effects of this identity on intergroup cooperation with both Asian and non-Asian racial minority groups. While early studies involving Asian-American political behavior have treated Asian-American voters as a homogenous group that converge along shared social and political preferences, researchers have been quick to note how such assumptions fail to take into consideration the role of ethnic cleavages in Asian-American socio-political behavior. Previous studies have noted sharp differences in key demographic indicators such as educational level and socioeconomic status between Asian ethnic groups. However, a less explored topic has been the role of such demographic factors in the adoption (or lack of adoption) of a pan-ethnic identity among particular Asian ethnic groups, particularly Korean immigrants. Focusing specifically on the socio-political behavior of Korean-American immigrant groups, this research study aims to answer several key questions: what demographic factors are playing the strongest role in determining whether or not a pan-ethnic identity is adopted, and what is the effect of this pan-ethnic identity on intergroup cooperation among Korean immigrants compared with other Asian ethnic groups? In other words, while the mutual recognition of a shared minority status in the United States has been found to be the driving factor behind minority coalitions, to what extent are Korean-Americans willing to recognize such a socio-political framework?


Hyang-gi Song  Ph.D student in Sociology  

Research Title:  "Politicians' Outrageous Behavior and Media Coverage"

Project Summary: 

When politicians’ ultimate and greatest goal is to be reelected, some politicians’ outrageous behavior at official political gatherings seems to be counterintuitive since the majority of the public react negatively to such behavior. However, much research indicates that one’s behavior in a political realm is highly rational although some extreme actions may appear to be irrational. Also, studies show how the mass media holds significant power in political settings, especially on the average citizens’ understanding and participation in politics. However, not many studies have attempted to measure the direct influence of media on political process. This study seeks to analyze the media effects on politicians’ potential political power through media coverage on their outrageous behaviors in South Korea and United States of America. Knowing that rational beings seek to maximize their interests, I want to see if repeated involvement with political outrageous behavior and its projection through media coverage is rewarded or punished. Using content analysis, by counting the frequency of a politician’s name mentioned due to one’s outrageous behavior from newspaper articles, this study examines what kinds of politicians’ behaviors are covered by the media, and how does such coverage influence politicians’ potential political power. This attempt is to answer why particular social structure/political process get reproduced. This study would enhance our understanding of the interaction between two major and influential systems, politics and mass media, in our society.


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