top of page

What Made the Civic Type of National Identity More Important among Koreans? A Comparison between ...

What Made the Civic Type of National Identity More Important among Koreans? A Comparison between 2003 and 2010

Seokho Kim | Seoul National University

Jonghoe Yang | Seoul National University

Minha Noh | Seoul National University

This study aims to describe and explain the recent change in national identity in connection with the process of globalization that Korea has experienced in the last two decades. Analyzing data from the 2003 and 2010 Korean General Social Survey, our results show that Koreans’ worry about negative socio-cultural influence caused by an increase in the number of immigrants, namely the problem of social integration and harms to the Korean tradition and culture, resulted in increased civic and mixed types of national identity. In addition, stronger perceptions about immigrants taking jobs away and about immigrants’ contribution to the national economy strengthened ethnic identity, suggesting that Koreans tend to consider immigrants as having two separate kinds of economic influence: the first is their influence on the Korean economy as a whole, and the other is their influence on competition among individuals. All in all, the results indicate that Koreans started to realize that incoming immigrants are not just visitors but neighbors beside whom they must live. The worry that these immigrants lack the qualities necessary for them to become Korean citizens may result in an increased emphasis on the importance of the civic and mixed type of national identity. Since the mixed type of national identity is a combination of ethnic and civic national identity, its increase in importance would be partly affected by the fact that Koreans have come to think of the civilian virtue of immigrants as being critical.

Keywords: national identity, civic identity, ethnic identity, mixed identity, globalization, socio-cultural influence, immigrants


Volume 44 | Number 3 | December 2015, 535-563

bottom of page