- space/place; landscape; political anthropology; class; youth; migration; South Korea
My research broadly engages with migration, social class and space/place through ethnographic research about the way people in motion make meaning of their lives and their surroundings.
My dissertation project, Millennials, Mobility and Jeju Island: The Making of a Contemporary Landscape, examines the making of landscape on contemporary Jeju Island in South Korea, taking up the perspective of downwardly mobile middle class millennial migrants who move from Seoul to Jeju, as a way to escape diminishing opportunities and a stagnant future in the city. In Jeju, these young people are able to find affordable housing, pursue meaningful work, and most importantly, recover from what they describe as the pain and struggles of competitive urban life. I argue that a politics of refusal and resistance among this downwardly mobile middle class is built in place in Jeju as these young people experience affective transformations, as they rebuild homes and by extension kinship and social networks from the ground up, and as they create embodied connections to the Jeju landscape.