Spring 2022 Sociology Colloquium

All colloquia are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 3 pm

“Doing Gender” and Union Instability in South Korea and Beyond

  • A talk by Dr. Yean-Ju Lee, Professor of Sociology at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Co-sponored with the Center for Korean Studies

Family sociologists in South Korea characterize social changes in the country as “compressed modernity,” where the male breadwinner norm remains strong in the family while movements toward gender equality have been remarkable in other areas, such as judicial systems, public programs, and higher education. In this context, the divorce rate in the country reached the highest level in the world. A qualitative analysis of relationship dynamics resulting in divorce, through in-depth interviews with divorced persons and examination of court rulings, reveals how the lingering male breadwinner norm might affect married persons’ perceptions about the self and trigger deterioration of marital relationships. The second part of the talk is based on quantitative analysis of ISSP data from 44 countries. The findings confirm that the lingering male breadwinner norm, both at the societal level and at the individual level, decreases family satisfaction. The talk will close with a discussion of the findings’ implications for theories of union dissolution and theory of stalled gender revolution.