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Feminist Seminar: Sohoon Lee, Politics of informal bargaining: border and care labour in South Korea

April 25, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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This seminar is co-sponsored by the Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration Workshop

Discussant: Fidan Elcioglu (U of Toronto)

Although South Korea has no designated labour migration scheme for care work, migrant women comprise a substantial proportion of the country’s informal care workforce. Only a small fraction of the migrant care workers have their employment registered with the Ministry of Employment and Labor while the majority “prefer” finding their jobs through unofficial routes and working informally. This paper examines the meaning of public intervention in informal employment for migrant care workers by focusing on the politics of their labour. By comparing the stories of workers who are on temporary and long-term visas, the paper analyses what informality politics mean for migrant care workers who negotiate with their citizen-employers in the presence or the absence of the state.

Bio. Sohoon Lee is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto. Her postdoctoral research project explores the ‘informal’ politics between the migrant care workers and their employers in the liminal space of immigration, social protection and labour. Building upon her PhD thesis, she is currently working on a book manuscript on the temporality of ethno-kinship migration in South Korea through a combination of ethnography, in-depth personal and group interviews and analysis of laws and policies. Her research interests also include multicultural (damunhwa) policies in South Korea, return migrants and bottom-up development in Indonesia, and NGO-Trade Union relationship in migrant movement in South Korea. She has also undertaken consultancies with UN Women, Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung (FES), and other NGOs to write on topics of migrant domestic workers, intersectionality and discrimination and labour rights protections in South Korea.

Sohoon Lee is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto.


April 25, 2018
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Rm 240 Sociology
725 Spadina
Toronto, ON M5S2J4 Canada