Anxiety, Insecurity, and Border Crossing: Language Contact in a Globalizing World
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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Language is one of the most crucial factors which influence social experiences and relations of transnational migrants. Moreover, crossing borders becomes an important strategy for acquiring valuable linguistic resources in the globalized neoliberal economy. For instance, through jogi yuhak (Early Study Abroad), the transnational educational migration of Korean middle class families, parents aim to provide their children with the opportunities to acquire multilingual competence as important skills for them to become competitive neoliberal workers in the global economy. However, anxiety and insecurity are inherent in transnational movement in the sense that relocation necessarily implies adjustment to new conditions of life. This paper investigates the anxieties and insecurities which Korean jogi yuhak families experience during their transnational educational migration. Based on an ethnographic study on Korean educational migrant families in Singapore, it explores how uncertainty and tension serve as an unavoidable aspect of strategic migratory choices and how the fierce pursuit of neoliberal subjectivity through global mobility works to increase the anxieties of the families. Korean jogi yuhak families’ constant negotiation between conflicting expectations and options across multiple scales of Time and Space in their migratory trajectories leads to awareness of the complex relationship between language and space, resulting in increasing anxiety and insecurity.


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