Changing Understandings of Ethnic and Christian Identity in Korean Migrants to Aotearoa New Zealand
Koreans have migrated to New Zealand for approximately 30 years. The experience of migrants over this time has not been uniform and can be understood in terms of different immigrant generations: the first generation (born in Korea), the 1.5 generation (arriving in NZ during their school years), and the second generation (born in NZ, or immigrating as a pre-schooler).
This paper draws on interviews with 31 Korean migrants to New Zealand to explore their sense of personal, communal and Christian identity through a case study method (a qualitative approach) with abductive inference. While all generations share a Korean communal sense of identity (U-Ri), they have different understanding U-Ri in different ways. This paper’s purpose is to explore the concept of U-Ri in Korean migrant situations within different generations and consider the relationship between this and Christian identity.
Briefly, the first generation participants describe U-Ri (Korean ethnic identity) as the same as Christian identity, so the gap between it and religious identity is less than for other generations. By contrast, the 1.5 generation perceives the U-Ri boundary not as Korean ethnicity but peer groups, generating some gaps between the two identities. The second generation shows a weak concept of U-Ri in relation to Korean ethnicity; as a result, the second generation tends to distinguish clearly between Korean ethnicity and Christianity. This result has potential implications for understanding and mitigating generation gaps in Korean immigrant churches. Also, this research as a practical theology helps listen to the marginal voices from Korean migrant Christians’ spiritual experiences.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).