Yoonkyung Lee, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto
Recent unfolding of workers’ protests and brutal crackdowns in Korea reveals that the state and employers are deploying a complex combination of strategies to incapacitate labour’s resistance to neoliberal conditions. There is an extensive involvement of private security firms in managing industrial relations and exercising direct physical violence to destroy labour protests. It is now a routine strategy for employers to file damage compensation claims of an exorbitant amount against workers involved in legally stipulated collective action. Labour relations professionals such as public labor attorneys and labour inspectors and legal institutions such as national prosecutors and the court have increasingly turned against labour to side with capital’s interest, instead of being an impartial arbiter of capital-labour conflicts in a democratic political system.
This study interrogates the new methods employers and the state use against workers’ contention in Korea and demonstrates the purview of neoliberal redefinition of capital-labour relations extends to include the use of privatized violence and dispossessive litigations. Through this examination, this talk intends to redirect our understanding of the declining labour power in a neoliberal era and of the relationship between the exercise of violence and state institutions.
Yoonkyung Lee is a political sociologist studying labour politics, social movements, and political representation. Her research probes how socially marginalized actors such as labour mobilize to gain a social and political voice and how they interact with civil society and political institutions. She is currently working on a research project that traces the historical formation of political opposition in Korea, politics of which has been shaped equally by a strong state and a vocal democracy movement. Another stream of research focuses on diverse modes of labour’s reaction to rising socioeconomic inequality in East Asia.
Dr. Lee’s talk is part of the York Cente for Asian Research’s Korea in Asia series.
Christine Kim, Department of English, Simon Fraser University
Friday, 3 February 2017 | 3 to 4:30pm | Room 280N, York Lanes | Keele Campus
In this talk, I reflect on the complex formations of publics, particularly for Asian Canadian participants, and how we are able to feel for and within them. Within the logic of Canadian multiculturalism, ‘Asian’ is transformed into an adjective for Canadian that directs our attention towards matters of national citizenship and inclusion. Without taking away from the valuable work that many scholars and activists have done to address these exclusionary legal and political structures as they operate within the Canadian context, I want to move away from the assumption that state recognition is the primary or most important kind of recognition sought by Asian Canadian publics. I am interested instead in considering how ‘Asian’ also becomes a means of engaging other audiences and makes possible minor publics such as diasporic, transnational, and global ones. The social intimacies of these formations interrogate how racialized subjects are formed, recognized, and made to matter for a range of local, national, and global audiences.
In the first part of this talk, I think through Korean diasporas in terms of minor publics by turning to two art projects by Vancouver-based artist David Khang. As they engage with personal loss and the legacies of the Korean War, “Mom’s Crutch” and “Wrong Places” illuminate the complex interplay between national and diasporic formations through diasporic subjects that are divided on the levels of affect, politics, and memory. While the first part of my talk examines the intimacies of the Korean diaspora, the second part of my talk turns to literary and cultural representations of North Korea to consider how global intimacies can also be produced through exclusion. Here I will focus on Shin Dong-Hyuk’s Escape From Camp 14, a narrative of his defection from North Korea, to examine how North Korea functions as a figure that illustrates the limits of human rights discourse for the contemporary Western imagination. Through Shin Dong-Hyuk’s narrative, I engage with North Korea as a social fantasy that speaks to what Jodi Kim calls “the protracted afterlife of the Cold War.”
Presented by the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, the Department of English, the Department of Humanities, and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR).
With Anindo Hazra, PhD
This event is part of the Lived and Contemporary Queer Diasporic South Asian Literatures, Cultures, Arts and Spaces series at the York Centre for Asian Research.