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Geographical Imagination and Intra-Asian Hierarchy between Filipinos and South Korean Retirees in the Philippines

Dohye Kim


Dwindling economic opportunities in South Korea after the financial crisis of1997 spurred forced retirement, with the Philippines emerging as a viable destination for relatively young South Korean retirees. Relations between these retirees and Filipinos have been influenced by the colonial-era system of racial hierarchy, resulting in intra-Asian hierarchies held by both groups. Shedding light on racial relations between postcolonial peoples, this article shows how South Korean retirees’ feelings of economic superiority and communal exclusiveness are challenged by the sociocultural advancement of Filipino middle classes. Among South Korean retirees in the Philippines, the imaginary distance between the two countries has widened.

Keywords: South Korea • Philipp ines • intra-Asian migration • retirementmigration • postcolonial racialization

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Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints is published by the Ateneo de Manila University

ISSN: 2244-1093 (Print)

ISSN: 2244-1638 (Online)