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Family Is Beautiful: The Affective Weight of Mothers-in-Law in Family Talk in South Korea

Family Is Beautiful: The Affective Weight of Mothers-in-Law in Family Talk in South Korea In this article I examine ways of narrating social issues affecting families and perceptions in changes to lived family structure. I argue that the drastic decrease in the number of married couples living with parents-in-law has not seemed to mitigate the historically fraught relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, which remains an emotional touch point. This can be seen in the circulation of public discourses about this relationship. Rather than focus on the exact reality of these shifting prioritizations of affective weights, this article examines the ways public discourse (print media, TV dramas) about family relationships intersects with people’s real-life experiences with family. The extended family represented in the weekend television drama Life Is Beautiful showcases a laundry list of important contemporary social issues: divorced and remarried families, eldercare, homosexual relationships, etc. Although increasingly separated from actual co-residence, the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship gains resonance in public discourse and comes to stand in for other familial relationships. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Korean Studies Duke University Press

Family Is Beautiful: The Affective Weight of Mothers-in-Law in Family Talk in South Korea

Journal of Korean Studies , Volume 21 (1) – Mar 16, 2016

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References (85)

Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
ISSN
0731-1613
eISSN
2158-1665
DOI
10.1353/jks.2016.0011
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this article I examine ways of narrating social issues affecting families and perceptions in changes to lived family structure. I argue that the drastic decrease in the number of married couples living with parents-in-law has not seemed to mitigate the historically fraught relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, which remains an emotional touch point. This can be seen in the circulation of public discourses about this relationship. Rather than focus on the exact reality of these shifting prioritizations of affective weights, this article examines the ways public discourse (print media, TV dramas) about family relationships intersects with people’s real-life experiences with family. The extended family represented in the weekend television drama Life Is Beautiful showcases a laundry list of important contemporary social issues: divorced and remarried families, eldercare, homosexual relationships, etc. Although increasingly separated from actual co-residence, the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship gains resonance in public discourse and comes to stand in for other familial relationships.

Journal

Journal of Korean StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Mar 16, 2016

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