Congratulations to Professor Hae Yeon Choo who has been chosen as a Fellow a the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ for 2018-19 while she on research leave from her duties at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. At the Institute, Professor Choo will participate in the School of Social Sciences which defines its mission as “the analysis of contemporary societies and social change.” Professor Choo will be one of approximately twenty visiting scholars for the year.
While at the Institute, Professor Choo will concentrate on a research project studying the politics of land ownership in South Korea. Her project focuses on macro-level political contestations over land rights in South Korea, together with the narratives of people who navigate the pursuit of class mobility. While real estate speculation has become a common practice among the South Korean urban middle-class since the 1960s, the advent of parliamentary democracy and the burgeoning of civil society has simultaneously challenged urban displacement based on democratic principles. It is this juxtaposition between intensive marketization forces and a counter force of mobilization based on rights and citizenship that makes the politics of land ownership in South Korea a key research site for the paradox of democracy.
Professor Choo has already collected data from in-depth interviews with urban middle-class homeowners and will use the time to analyze this data and conduct discourse analysis of real estate-related self-help books, legal case laws, and archival data. She will also use her time for writing and participating in the Institute’s intellectual community. Her project will show how market logics become entrenched in everyday life, and how the politics of land ownership are shaped through collective contestations. As such, her work promises to illuminate the paradox of democratic citizenship emerging alongside deepening economic inequality.