In this ethnography of the everyday life of contemporary Korea, Denise Lett argues not only that South Korea's contemporary urban middle class exhibits upper-class characteristics but also that this reflects a culturally inherited disposition on the part of Koreans to seek high status, combined with a favorable political and economic climate that has made it possible for many to achieve this status. Lett shows that in addition to inheriting a cultural need for status from the yangban tradition, Koreans have adapted traditional ways of asserting high status to modern life. As Korea evolved from a qtraditionalq Confucian, agrarian, and largely closed and isolated society to one that is predominantly middle class, urban, industrialized, and increasingly global in outlook, new ways of asserting status have developed. Lett analyzes strategies for claiming high status in depth in terms of occupation, family, lifestyle, education, and marriage in order to show that these means of status assertion are the defining characteristics of South Korea's middle class.Because vacuum cleaners kick up dust on the bare floors, many women continued to get down on their hands and knees with damp rags once if not twice a ... The one other major electric appliance that would aid Koreans in keeping house is a dishwasher. ... The only place to hook up the water intake hose was to the sink.
|Title||:||In Pursuit of Status|
|Author||:||Denise Potrzeba Lett|
|Publisher||:||Harvard Univ Asia Center - 2001-12-01|