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Marriage, Independence and Adulthood among Unmarried Women in South Korea
- Marriage, Independence and Adulthood among Unmarried Women in South Korea
- Kim B.-H.; Lee J.K.; Park H.
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- Asian Journal of Social Science
- vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 338 - 362
- adulthood; independence; Korea; marriage
- Brill Academic Publishers
- SSCI; SCOPUS
- Based on interviews with 23 unmarried women in Korea, we address how they subjectively perceive marriage and independence from parents in the large context of the transition to adulthood. We examine meanings, expectations and desires that unmarried women in their 20s and mid-30s attach to marriage and independence, particularly focusing on heterogeneity in those subjective concepts among unmarried women of different socioeconomic status (SES). Although low-SES women perceive the pathway to marriage to be primarily determined by their own decision because of the lack of economic and emotional support from their parents, their prospects of economic security through marriage are dimmed with their poor human capital and high chance to marry similarly low-SES men. This pattern of "precarious independence" among low-SES women is contrasted to active and extensive parental intervention and support that high-SES unmarried women expect in marriage process. To achieve residential independence and economic security through marriage, high-SES unmarried women are willing to "work together" with parents. We discuss implications of these different conceptions of marriage and independence in relation to adulthood among unmarried women in Korea. © 2016 Copyright 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
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