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북한 이주 여성을 둘러 싼 사회적 통념과 선택적 협상에 관한 연구

북한 이주 여성을 둘러 싼 사회적 통념과 선택적 협상에 관한 연구
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대학원 여성학과
이화여자대학교 대학원
The purpose of this study is to require a social mood in which South Koreans accepts the North Koreans, who escaped out of North Korea and entered South Korea and try to take their root in South Korea, as equal members in South Korean society. From here, this paper will call the North Korean women who escaped out of North Korea and now live in South Korea as North Korean woman residents. North Korean Residents, so-called defectors, North Korean Refugees, have been regarded as people who have the stigma of being uncompetitive and unsuitable to South Korean society and as the inferior group which needs to be reeducated to adopt themselves in South Korea. From trial and error in helping the North Korean residents to take their roots in South Korea, some officials and experts realize that with the continuous and sustainable support, South Korean's prejudice and stereotype about North Korean residents should be changed. That is because, in reality, North Korean woman residents are experiencing invisible discrimination based on the prejudice and stereotype. Without the change of South Korean's prejudice and stereotype about North Koreans, no matter how much the North Korean residents are like South Korean in their life style or are assimilated to South Koreans, they cannot get out of this invisible discrimination. To make matters worse, the North Korean woman residents are often stigmatized by South Koreans who assume that North Korean refugee women might have been abused sexually in third country where they hided themselves until they were admitted by South Korean government. The only choice North Korean woman residents have is just to adopt themselves in South Korean society that has many negative images about them. In this situation, it is natural that the North Korean woman residents are very sensitive and sometimes oversensitive to the South Korean's view and attitude to them. Under this invisible pressure, North Korean woman residents choose to neglect the South Korean's negative view about them or to stand against that kind of view as a means of survival in South Korean society. Realizing this reality that the North Korean woman residents experience, this research tries to locate the social status of the North Korean woman residents in South Korea and to track down and analyze the result of their choice. In methodology, this research is based on the observation of Ha-na-won which is a facility for the North Korean residents in South Korea. The observation in Ha-na-won offered the background knowledge about the North Korean woman residents effort to take roots in South Korean society. With this background knowledge from the observation, interviews and literature review are followed. The interviewees are the women whom I met in Ha-na-won and acquaintances. The results of the research are as follows: After 1980ths when South Korea started to overpass North Korea, especially in economy, South Korea no longer thinks North Korea as a rival. Rather than having antagonism against North Korea, communist country, South Koreans think North Koreans as poor people suffering starvation. The fact that North Korea is very poor plays a role to lower the social status of North Korean woman residents in South Korea. Largely because of the big problem that North Korea faces now, that is starvation, many South Koreans expect the role of North Koreans in South Korea to testify the miserable situation that the North Korean people experienced before they escaped North Korea. Unfortunately, this testimony often strengthens the negative image: North Koreans are inferior to South Koreans. Because of this arrogance of South Koreans, they even feel psychological resistance when they come across competitive and able North Koreans. It is very similar to the experience of reunified Germany. After the reunification of Germany, there were many newspaper articles that reported the conflict between East Germans and West Germans. Second, South Koreans have prejudice that North Korean woman residents were sexually abused when they were refugees in the third country. On arriving in South Korea, the examination about sex life of North Korean woman residents by South Korea officers reflects this prejudice very well, let alone the invasion of the basic human rights. There are times when North Korean men who also believe that North Korean woman residents had been sexually abused tend to abuse the North Korean woman residents sexually without any guilty. To our surprise, these North Korean men confuse the abuse with the feeling of love. Actually, there are some North Korean men in Ha-na-won who used the sexual abuse as a means of propose. Under this circumstance, to protect themselves, the North Korean woman residents in Ha-na-won find men who can protect them or stick to the rule of eye for eye. Third, the North Korean woman residents have the image of untruthful people about South Koreans. In other words, the North Korean woman residents think that what South Koreans have in their mind is different from what South Koreans speak or show. Despite of this negative image about South Koreans, the North Korean woman residents try to be like South Koreans in their behavior, by mimicking the South Koreans accent and the way of speaking. Fourth, the prejudice that North Koreans are relatively inferior to South Koreans in terms of their knowledge or their ability blocks the North Korean residents chance for getting job and higher education in South Korea. In other words, South Koreans think that North Koreans who even have certificates or diploma and the job experience in North Korea are still not qualified to work in South Korea, relatively far more developed than North Korea. Due to this prejudice and stereotype, it is very hard for a North Korean resident to get a job without help from a South Korean. In terms of educational regulation, the chances for higher education opens to a North Korean in South Korea. Virtually, most South Koreans occupied by the previously mentioned prejudice do not welcome the North Koreans who want to apply for a higher education institute such as university or graduate school in South Korea. Unlike the wide-spread prejudice among South Koreans, however, there are many North Koreans who are very competitive and handle their work very well. From the above research results, it is shown that how the South Koreans prejudice and stereotype affect North Korean woman residents in terms of their chances of job hunting and higher education that guarantee their future life in South Korea. In addition, despite of the North Korean woman residents' positive image about male South Koreans, the sexual threat North Korean woman residents feel pushes them to choose North Korean men as their husbands as soon as possible to protect themselves. However, this imminent choice sometimes leads the North Korean woman residents to the conflict between the changed viewpoint of North Korean woman residents and the traditional viewpoint of North Korean men about sexual role and social status as a woman in South Korea. In this conflict, younger North Korean woman residents tend to play more positive role in changing the traditional viewpoint. This study questions the way in which the existing researches neglect the importance of metro-view in analyzing the pending issue of North Korean residents, by emphasizing the individual difference between a South Korean and a North Korean.Here, the metro-view means the comparison of North Korea and South Korea in terms of their culture, politics and economy. By pointing out this problem that the existing researches have, this research tries to view the North Korean woman residents in a different point. Realizing the social and cultural gap between North Koreans and South Koreans, which cannot be narrowed just with the financial and social support, South Koreans tend to believe that assimilation is the only way for the North Korean residents to adopt themselves in South Korea. However, this assimilation seems to have its root in South Koreans prejudice and stereotype that North Koreans are inferior to South Koreans. It is natural that South Koreans, majority in South Korea, lead the North Koreans, minority in South Korea, in many ways. However, this numerical superiority does not give a legitimacy to the relatively inferior social status and invisible discrimination that North Korean residents experience. The very urgent assignment that we should do is to change the prejudice and stereotype that South Koreans have to accept the North Korean residents as equal social members in South Korean society. In addition, the opportunities through which North Korean residents and South Koreans can understand each other are required.;본 연구는 기존 연구들이 북한 이주 여성들을 남한 사회에 적응 시켜야 할 대상으로 상정하여 온 것이 이들에 대한 부정적인 통념을 지속시키거나 강화하는 역할을 해왔다는 한계를 지적하는 것에서 출발하였다. 제도적, 물질적 지원이 어느 정도 이루어지고 있음에도 불구하고 이들이 여전히 정착 과정에서 어려움을 겪게 되는 것은 남한 사회가 일방적으로 이들을 동화(assimilation)시키려고 한데서 비롯된 것으로 보았다. 이러한 동화는 바로 북한의 모든 것이 열등하다는 사회적 인식에 근거한 것으로 볼 수 있다. 남한에 거주하는 북한 여성들은 정착 생활을 하는 동안 북한, 북한 사람, 북한 여성, 탈북 여성 등에 대해 우리 사회가 갖고 있는 기존 통념에 영향을 받게 된다. 이들은 아무리 남한 사람화, 남한 여성화된다 하더라도 남한의 북한에 대한 우월자적인 인식이 바뀌지 않는 한 출신에 따른 낙인을 계속적으로 경험할 수밖에 없다. 더군다나 북한 이주 여성들은 단순히 북한 사람이 아니라, '탈북 여성'이라는 성적(性的) 이미지까지 부여받음으로써 북한 남성들과는 또 다른 사회적 시선을 경험하게 된다. 이 새로운 사회에 어떻게든 뿌리내리고 살아야 하는 여성들로선 자신을 향한 사회의 통념에 대하여 민감하게 반응할 수밖에 없고, 선택적으로 통념에 기대거나 거부하거나 벗어나려는 과정을 거치게 된다. 이에 본 연구는 이들을 둘러 싼 남한 사회의 통념이 여성들을 어떤 식으로 위치 짓고 있는지 그리고 여성들의 선택적인 협상이 사회적 통념의 어떤 지점에서 이루어지고 있는지 분석하고 있다. 연구 방법 면에서 본 연구는 북한 이주민들의 정착지원 사무소인 하나원에서 주말 자원활동과 성교육 강의를 했던 약 1년 간의 관찰 경험에서 출발하고 있다. 이후 북한 이주민들에 대한 기존 적응 담론을 방법론적인 측면에서 검토한 후 심층 면접과 문헌 연구를 병행하였다. 연구 참여자들은 하나원에서 친했던 여성들과 아는 사람의 소개를 받았다. 이 연구의 결과는 다음과 같다. 북한 이주 여성들이 취업, 교육 기회 등 사회적 자원에 접근하는데 있어 북한 출신에 대한 사회적 통념은 장애로 작용한다. 북한 사람들은 남한 사람들에 비해 경쟁력도 떨어지고 무능력하며 일이든 공부든 열심히 하지 않으며 쉽게 포기한다는 부정적인 인식 때문에 직장이나 교육기관 진입이 어렵게 되는 것이다. 그러나 북한 이주민에 대한 이러한 부정적인 인식과 달리, 직장을 구한 여성들의 경우 업무 파악이 끝나면 성실한 태도로 업무 수행을 하며 직장 일을 안정적으로 이끌어가고 있음을 알 수 있었다. 물론 이렇게 안정이 되기까지 여성들은 노동 조건과 동료와의 관계, 자신의 적성 등에 따라 몇 차례 이직을 하기도 한다. 이는 이들이 끈기가 없어서라는 기존 통념과는 달리 자신에게 잘 맞는 직장을 구하는 과정으로 볼 수 있다. 학업에 실패하는 경우가 많다는 이유로 대학 진학에 지지를 받지 못하는 북한 이주 여성들도 성취 동기가 높은 경우 성실하게 학업을 수행하고 있다. 이 외에 북한 이주 여성들은 '탈북 여성'에 대한 성적 통념으로 인해 국가 기관과 북한 남성들로부터 성적 위협을 경험하기도 한다. 이에 따라 여성들은 남한 남성에 대해 부드럽고 자상하다는 통념을 갖고 있으면서도 정착 초기에 북한 남성을 배우자로 서둘러 선택하기도 한다. 이러한 여성들의 선택은 북한식 성별 위계를 고수하려는 북한 남성과 상대적으로 높은 남한 여성의 지위를 인식하게 된 자신들의 의식 전환으로 인하여 갈등이 생기는 원인이 되기도 한다. 이 때 젊은 여성들일수록 남성과의 관계를 주도적으로 이끌어가며 기존 북한에서의 성별 위계를 변화시키려 하기도 한다. 이렇듯 대부분 부정적으로 형성되어 있는 통념들이 북한 이주 여성들의 정착 생활에 불리한 영향을 미치는 경우가 많아 이 통념들에서 벗어나기 위하여 서둘러 남한화하고 있음을 알 수 있다. 이는 남한화하지 못하면 그만큼 정착이 힘들어지는 현실을 반영하는 것이다. 이에 따라 본 연구는 이들을 남한 사회의 동등한 구성원으로 인정하기 위해서는 이들에 대한 부정적인 통념을 바꾸어내고 서로에 대한 이해를 높이는 노력이 병행되어야 함을 지적하고 있다.
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