Korean families have changed significantly during the last few decades in their composition, structure, attitudes, and function. Delayed and forgone marriage, fertility decline, and rising divorce rates are just a few examples of changes that Korean families have experienced at a rapid pace, more dramatic than in many other contemporary societies. Moreover, the increase of marriages between Korean men and foreign women has further diversified Korean families. Yet traditional norms and attitudes toward gender and family continue to shape Korean men and women’s family behaviors.
Korean Families Yesterday and Today portrays diverse aspects of the contemporary Korean families and, by explicitly or implicitly situating contemporary families within a comparative historical perspective, reveal how the past of Korean families evolved into their current shapes. While the study of families can be approached in many different angles, our lens focuses on families with children or young adults who are about to forge family through marriage and other means. This focus reflects that delayed marriage and declined fertility are two sweeping demographic trends in Korea, affecting family formation. Moreover, “intensive” parenting has characterized Korean young parents and therefore, examining change and persistence in parenting provides important clues for family change in Korea.
This volume should be of interest not only to readers who are interested in Korea but also to those who want to understand broad family changes in East Asia in comparative perspective.