The narratives of women activists highlight the important roles of critical awakening, a sense of responsibility, guilt and moral conscience, reciprocity and caring for others, as well as an altruistic vision for others, all as driving forces for their activism. These findings highlight two major interrelated characteristics: relational and future-oriented dimensions. Founded on these, I present a new theoretical concept that I call ‘Altruistic Political Imagination’, which seeks to describe North Korean women’s human rights activism more aptly than existing concepts around imagination and altruism. This framework is an ongoing development built on my previous work on North Korean human rights activism.
This final chapter provides a recapitulated overview of the book, drawing on all the chapters. It re-emphasizes the significance of activism in improving the lives of North Korean women. It also reinforces the salient contribution of Altruistic Political Imagination in unpacking human rights activism, in conjunction with its potentially wider application to the analyses of other movements and activism. Additionally, it examines what has been achieved so far through the activism of North Korean women abroad, as well as other international endeavours to improve the situations of North Korean women. This chapter further discusses some limitations of the study and makes recommendations for future research.
This chapter examines North Korean women’s individual experiences of grave human rights violations, both inside the regime and after they have escaped to China. The first part focuses on women’s narratives of human rights issues in North Korea, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment. The second part explores women defectors’ experiences during their escape, primarily focusing on human trafficking and forced/voluntary marriages to Chinese men. It also presents the harrowing experiences women endured during and after repatriation to North Korean detention centres. The main argument of this chapter is that North Korean women experience a continuous cycle of oppression throughout their lives, both inside and outside North Korea, owing to the intersection of the deep-seated patriarchal structure of North Korea, the absence of freedom of movement, and China’s treatment of North Korean border-crossers as illegal migrants.
This chapter examines changes and constants in North Korean society since the mid-1990s, when the country faced severe famine. In particular, it investigates the rise of the informal market economy – and its subsequent impact on gender roles – and a large exodus of women to China as a consequence of the economic crisis. The chapter situates the North Korean diaspora within the context of globalization and its implications for North Korean refugees and their human rights. It further discusses human rights debates in North Korea and defector human rights activism outside North Korea.
Recent North Korean diaspora has given rise to many female refugee groups fighting for the protection of women’s rights.
Presenting in-depth accounts of North Korean women defectors living in the UK, this book examines how their harrowing experiences have become an impetus for their activism. The author also reveals how their utopian dream of a better future for fellow North Korean women is vital in their activism.
Unique in its focus on the intersections between gender, politics, activism and mobility, Lim's illuminating work will inform debates on activism and human rights internationally.
This chapter explores the narratives of North Korean women activists about their involvement in human rights activism, including critical awakening and the turning point of their identity from victim to activist. The chapter examines motivating factors for their activism, as well as challenges and strategies. The women’s narratives suggest a strong sense of altruism and concern for other people in similar situations, which have operated as motivators for their activism. In conjunction with this, their imagination of a better future for fellow North Korean women (and children) has become the driving force behind their activism. The chapter further discusses their plans from an operational perspective: what possible collaborations and works could be undertaken?
This chapter examines methodological considerations, focusing on ethical issues and the challenges of studying North Korean women defectors and their human rights issues. It applies a critical feminist approach. The chapter begins with a phenomenological method, linking to the life history and power of storytelling. Due to the risk of potential repercussions that defectors and their families face from the regime, as well as the sensitive nature of the topic, the study raises several ethical concerns. In addition, the dynamics between a woman researcher of South Korean heritage and North Korean women defectors poses methodologically important questions. Reflecting upon these, the chapter discusses the complex dynamics between insider and outsider, knower and enquirer, in a critical manner.
This chapter reconstructs the process of becoming and being a Polish mother. Analysis of the narratives of women/mothers made it possible to grasp biographical experiences of motherhood and the processes that shape a mother’s identity.
The theoretical basis for this study is symbolic interactionism, and data were collected using the technique of narrative interviewing. The research conducted within the Inclusive Education and Social Support to Tackle Inequalities in Society (ISOTIS) project involved 16 women, differentiated by age, education, number of children, legal marital status and place of residence. The analytical procedure of the narrative-interview method made it possible to distinguish process structures (biographical action schemes, institutional expectation patterns, trajectories of suffering and biographical metamorphoses) through which women’s biographies and motherhood experiences were reconstructed, and presented in the form of five patterns.
The Introduction provides an overview of extant state-of-the-art international biographical research scholarship on mothering. It specifically engages with the book’s principal themes, which both shape and reflect the multidimensionality of mothering in diverse social and cultural contexts, social circumstances and culturally anticipated narratives of idealised motherhoods. It further highlights the complexities of policy-based narratives of mothering and motherhood, which are socially and culturally variable, both in and across time, while underlining contradictions between policy-based understandings of mothering on the one hand and the complexities of women’s everyday lived experiences on the other. Key theoretical and biographical narrative methodological perspectives on mothering are discussed in relation to salient topics – definitions of mothering identities through the prism of biographical research methods – emphasising ethics and the cultural sensitivity of the biographical approach.
What does mothering mean in different cultures and societies? This book extensively applies biographical and narrative research methods to mothering from international perspectives.
This edited collection engages with changing attitudes and approaches to mothering from women’s individual biographical experiences, illuminating how socially anticipated tasks of mothering shaped through interlinking state, media, religious beliefs and broader society are reflected in their identities and individual life choices. Considering trust, rapport, reflexivity and self-care, this collection advances methodological practice in the study of mothers, carers and childless women’s lives.