Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 6-21-2017


This thesis explores how Korean business firms reproduce racial division and hierarchies in the face of changing immigration under new post-colonial dynamics. In my exploration, I ask the following questions: How is the idea of multiculturalism represented, framed, and carried out in their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs? Who is included as ‘multicultural’ in these programs? What racial meanings do these programs convey in the Korean context? Using qualitative content analysis of reports and websites, I analyze how the top 30 Korean firms negotiate the meanings of multiculturalism and shape notions of it through their CSR programs. Findings show that the firms represent multiculturalism by focusing exclusively upon ‘multicultural families’ composed of Korean men, foreign brides predominantly from Southeast Asia, and their children. These findings relate to racializing and gendering only certain migrant groups as ‘multicultural,’ while other racial and ethnic groups are visibly absent from multicultural discourses. Although all 30 firms actively promote multiculturalism, their discourses may contribute to creating meanings of multicultural families as inherently deficient and in need of resources, and “othering” in the Korean national imaginary. The firms also associate multiculturalism with globalization by representing themselves as global leaders. Compared to their idealized visions, some programs are superficial and can be seen as corporate public relations window-dressing. The paternalistic benign approach may further marginalize the multicultural families because the programs do not bring about fundamental changes that empower these families. Global pressure and the national interests over female marriage migrants may have caused the sudden explosion of similar CSR programs regarding multiculturalism among the elite firms.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Nancy López

Second Committee Member

Kristin Barker

Third Committee Member

Robert Fiala


multiculturalism, racialization, marriage migrants, institutionalization, CSR



Document Type


Included in

Sociology Commons