This paper analyzes the secrets revealed by Korean high school girls. Despite their struggles being known to the Korean public-at-large, the majority of these secrets express the students dismay at not meeting the high standards expected of teenage girls in successfully preparing for the future. In this case study, the public airing of the otherwise silenced acknowledgement of the authors' perceived deficiencies and failures illuminates processes of biopower (the subject-based regulation and disciplining of bodies) embedded within the Korean nation-state building project. I explore how the Neo-Confucian principles of reverence, obedience, and self-cultivation work together with the neoliberal, post-industrial consumerist nation-state in rendering adolescent girls 'docile and useful' (Foucault 1990). I aim to explicate the regulatory mechanisms and disciplinary pressures experienced daily by Korean teenage girls and argue that adolescent subjects in particular embody both the underpinnings and cost of the nation-state building project.'
Korea, adolescence, secrecy, biopower, education, body image
Level of Degree
UNM Department of Anthropology
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Easterday, Noelle. ""I'm afraid [of] my future.": Secrecy, Biopower, and Korean High School Girls." (2013). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/anth_etds/21