HEANGJIN PARK, then a graduate student at University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, received a grant in October 2016 to aid research on 'Brokerage and Translation in Made-in-China Kimchi Trade,' supervised by Dr. Julie Chu. This research analyzes how social relations are (re)configured alongside transnational supply chains of commodities. Through an ethnographic case study of a kimchi factory in Qingdao, People's Republic of China, this dissertation project reveals how social, economic, cultural, and political relationships between Chinese and South Korean are registered through their involvement with the production and distribution of kimchi, 'Korean' food that has been massively produced in China and now widely consumed both in South Korea and China. This study particularly focuses on: 1) how social configuration in commodity chains affects the material composition of commodities and their trajectories in markets; 2) how technical natures of mediums of communication-emails, messaging, phone calls, documents, and photography-shape the communicative interactions in commodity chains; and 3) how the quality and value of commodities are evaluated and manipulated through communicative interactions. Responding these questions, this research examines how the industrial and commercial production of the 'same' commodities (of their value and quality) articulate 'differences' among people involved with the supply chains; and how such differences-sociopolitical hierarchies, economic inequalities, and discrimination-are enacted on the ways people's work and lives are composed in contemporary Northeast Asia.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Chicago, U. of
Park, Heangjin, U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Brokerage and Translation in Made-in-China Kimchi Trade,' supervised by Dr. Julie Chu