2011. Experiences of State, Family and Body amongst North Korean Defectors Living in Seoul. Journal of Northeast Asian Cultures, 26/1: 579-600.

The Talbukja, a term used to denote ‘escape from the north’, interviewed in this paper have all fled their rural towns along the Tumen river in north-eastern North Korea to find themselves in Seoul, South Korea, one of the most dynamic megacities in the world. What is their view of this change? Do they incur any physical discomfort? How would they describe their relationship with their new surroundings?
To explore these aspects, the methodology involved conducting qualitative interviews with questions pertaining to the five senses. I asked questions such as what sights stand out in Seoul, what sounds are new or different, what tastes and what smells do you like or dislike? From these cue questions, the interviewee would then take the discussion in different directions, freely making associations to his or her personal like and experience as a refugee.


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