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Living Cohabitation in the Republic of Korea: The Reported Experiences of Lesbians, Gays and Heterosexuals

Yoo, HJ (2015) Living Cohabitation in the Republic of Korea: The Reported Experiences of Lesbians, Gays and Heterosexuals. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In contemporary western culture, cohabitation is not a major issue – it has become a normal practice in everyday life. This is not at all the case in Korea where the institution of marriage is still considered the pivotal relation that authorises ‘adult citizenship’ (Josephson 2005: 272). Non-marital cohabitation is therefore something of a taboo. At the same time, homosexuality, though neither legal nor illegal, is also taboo and hence same-sex couples’ cohabitation has hardly been discussed in Korean academe because first, it is expected to be hidden and, second, given that homosexuality is not generally accepted in Korean culture, the issue of same-sex couples’ cohabitation is constructed as outside of public interest. Hence, overall, little attention has been paid to the question of how Korean cohabiting couples live their cohabitation and what the similarities/differences in experience might be among same-sex and different-sex couples. This thesis centres on couples’ reported experiences of living cohabitation, that is the dailiness of their lives together and its meaning as they articulate it in terms of particular practices. I draw on interviews carried out between April and September 2012 with twelve heterosexuals, nine gays and fourteen lesbians, all of whom were cohabiting. In my research I focus on: 1) how and why couples come to consider cohabiting and decide to do so; 2) the extent to which couples disclose the nature of their cohabitation to others (i.e. mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, work colleagues and neighbours), which remains a big issue in Korea; 3) the ways in which cohabitation is discussed by my participants as emulating and/or rejecting traditional Korean family norms. I argue that cohabiting couples do cohabitation differently, in line with their sexual identity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.647087
Depositing User: Dr HJ Yoo
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 15:18
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9000

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