Religion in diaspora: The transformation of Korean immigrant churches in global society

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Title: Religion in diaspora: The transformation of Korean immigrant churches in global society
Authors: Cho, Kyuhoon
Date: 2004
Abstract: This thesis explores the reasons why Christian churches have been at the centre of Korean immigrant communities in North America and the recent changes in the characteristics of Korean immigrant churches. The multi-functionality of Korean diasporic churches is a consequence of Korea's unique experience of Christianity, as a Western religion, in the process of Korean modernization during the 20th century. Christian churches in modern Korea have played an important role in supporting Koreans during the conflict and crisis of modern Korean history, crises ranging from the Japanese annexation of Korea and the Korean War, to dictatorship and radical industrialization. The benevolent acts and comforts of Christianity left positive impressions in a great many Koreans' minds. Furthermore, Christianity, in particular its charismatic form, was itself a great source of energy to overcome the modern tragedies and difficulties of immigrant life. These elements of Christianity have had significant impact on Korean immigration to North America so that many Korean immigrants have tended to meet other Korean immigrants around Korean immigrant churches, which offered varied services and roles to help the immigrants' lives in the new land. However, recently Korean immigrant churches have placed more of a focus on religious functions. Changes in Korean society since the 1990s, the rapid development of communication and information technologies, and the increased importance of second-generation Koreans have all become significant variables in transforming the lives of Korean immigrants. In the new social environment, in which local and global communication has become easier and possible, Korean ethnic churches try to maintain their influence on the general Korean immigrant communities by becoming a more differentiated religious centre.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/26606
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-18271
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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