Re-defining the homeland-diaspora nexus. South Korea and the Koryo saram

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar


The paper uses the case of the Koryo saram, the ethnic Koreans living in post-Soviet Central Asia, to reflect on the redefinition of the relationship between the Republic of Korea and overseas Koreans, especially those communities settled in the post-Soviet space.
Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Central Asia and Korea and integrating insights from scholarship on diasporic communities and Korea's foreign policy, anyconthe paper's argument's is two-fold. One the Republic of Korea has in recent decades made available a variety of programs aimed at strengthening the ties with Central Asian societies. While some of these targeted local Koreans only, most were actually aimed at forging closer cultural and institutional bonds between Korea and Central Asian societies.
Two, such bonds are used instrumentally to create political goodwill to deepen ties between Korea and Central Asia. In fact, such efforts, which range from cultural diplomacy to a variety of programs at home are part of a broader multi-dimensional effort to set a cultural, institutional and - especially - economic footprint in a region of increasing importance to South Korea. The paper concludes that over twenty-six years after independence, material links are as important, if not more, than cultural ones.
Period22 Feb 201824 Feb 2018
Held atGoethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • South Korea
  • Korean diaspora
  • post-Soviet space
  • Central Asia
  • homeland
  • nexus
  • diaspora
  • Koryo saram