Center and margin on the margin: A study of the multilayered (Korean) Chinese migrant neighborhood in Daerim-dong, South Korea

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This study analyzes visual-material resources, spatial organization, and human activities taking place in a large (Korean) Chinese migrant neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. Grounded in walking fieldwork, this study identifies how dominant and marginal values are imposed in commercial streets and their surroundings of the neighborhood. The main commercial area plays a central role in the neighborhood, appropriating commodified Chinese cultures. A large local market commodifies Chinese culture in promoting the market as a multicultural place, while many Chinese restaurants highlight Chineseness, attracting both migrant and local consumers. On the other hand, the stigma of precarity is inscribed in every corner of the long-time low-income area: signs of otherness and unstable lives in the commercial landscape signify marginalization. The values expressed by the migrant neighborhood subtly suggest how migrants have been both included and excluded in South Korean society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese migrants
  • Diasporic space
  • Korean Chinese
  • Migrant neighborhood
  • Spatial semiotics
  • Urban landscapes

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