Women's Talk and Mothers' Work
By Minju Kim, Assistant Professor, Claremont McKenna College/Korea Colloquium Series
Thursday, October 09, 2008
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
This paper examines 400 minutes of naturally occurring conversations between Korean married women and investigates their use of the new solidarity term caki “you.” Traditionally, married Korean women with children have been addressed by reference to their children’s names (e.g., “Ken’s mom”) even by their friends and family members. The term caki, which allows married women to directly address each other, has become a popular alternative. Also, contrary to its traditional dismissal as just gossip, this paper suggests that women’s talk carries an important function in building collective networks among mothers which allow sharing of information and collective monitoring of children. Especially, due to the intense competition for college entrance, Korean mothers’ ability to network and gather information (e.g., on good private tutors and extramural competitions) has become a socially-recognized form of power (as Korean mass media call it “mother’s information power”). Consequently, the solidarity term caki can also contribute to the cause of power.
Minju Kim is an Assistant Professor of Korean in the Department of Modern Languages at Claremont McKenna College. Her research interests include historical linguistics, discourse analysis, gender and language, and corpus linguistics. She received her Ph. D from University of California, Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
Lecture will be in Korean.
Open to the Public
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Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies