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The Regime of Urban Informality in Migration: Accommodating Undocumented Chosǒnjok Migrants in their Receiving Community in Seoul, South Korea

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This study looks at how a regime of urban informality has taken shape in a migrant receiving community in Seoul, South Korea. It investigates how actors from the public sector and the private sector came to help undocumented Chosǒnjok migrants stay in the Kuro/Taerim area of Seoul regardless of their legal status. We view such practices as a response to local changes provoked by shifts in the geopolitical environment and fluctuating national policies. Based on longitudinal fieldwork, including in-depth interviews, participant observation, and archival research, the findings of this study are as follows. First, public-sector actors, including the Korea immigration service, local authorities, and local police, have shifted their roles from controlling to accommodating, being motivated by competition with other departments, promotion, and personal attachment. Second, the private sector has expanded its role, building on relations with Chosǒnjok as easygoing customers and service providers. This study contributes to the understanding of regimes of informal settlements and their spatial contexts.
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Keywords: CHOSǑNJOK MIGRANTS; SEOUL; SOUTH KOREA; UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS; URBAN INFORMALITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2017

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UA-1313315-28
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