Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Patico


This thesis examines whether the interrelationship of family and gay identity in South Korea is best understood as one of conflict, pitting a traditional, national, and filial constraint against a presumed global, progressive, and individualistic freedom, or whether it requires (or perhaps, in the narratives themselves, already provides) a different, more recursive understanding. This thesis explores the recursivity between gay identity and filial piety among college students in contemporary Korea while also providing a critique of a global gay paradigm that others may argue infiltrates Korean gay discourse. The aim of this ethnography is not just to collect the stories that these young South Korean college men tell about their experiences of being gay and a son, but to trace how my position as a researcher and a friend are shaped by my experiences with other gay Korean men and how those positions are intimately tied to this ethnography as a whole.