The Korean American Dream: Immigrants and Small Business in New York City

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Cornell University Press, 1997 - Social Science - 228 pages
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Korean immigrants to the United States establish their own small businesses at a rate exceeding that of immigrants from any other nation, with more than one third of all Korean immigrant adults involved in small businesses. Kyeyoung Park examines this phenomenon in Queens, New York, tracing its historical bases and exploring the transformation of Korean cultural identity prompted by participation in an enterprise. Park documents the ways in which Korean immigrants use entrepreneurship to improve the quality of their lives, focusing on their concerns and anxieties, as well as their joys.

The concept of "anjong" is crucial to the lives of first-generation Korean Americans in Queens, Park explains. The word may be translated as "establishment," "stability," or "security," and it identifies a particular concept of success through which Koreans make sense of the American ideology of opportunity. What they seek is not great wealth or social position but rather the creation of their own small businesses as a way of realizing the American dream. The pursuit of "anjong" is important enough to justify changes in gender and kinship relations, resulting in the rise of a Korean American women-centered and sister-initiated kinship structure. Commitment to the concept has also inspired a different understanding of class, ethnicity, and race, and stimulated new religious ideas and practices.

 

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Contents

Introduction 1
1
Dependent Development
7
Tables
8
Age distribution and sex
28
The Gravitation to Small Business
36
Establishment and the Domestic Cycle
71
The Shift
94
The Pursuit of Human
113
Workplace
139
Political Processes
155
Korean American community organizations
157
Conclusion
201
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Kyeyoung Park is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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