chapter  9
18 Pages

The material contradictions of proletarian patriarchy in South Korea’s condensed capitalist industrialization: the instability in the working life course of male breadwinners and its familial ramifi cations


Introduction Korean male workers have been socially considered the key link joining industrial capitalism and modern family life. This is because they are viewed as not only producers but also the main family providers. While the social status and responsibilities of the family breadwinner are clearly important, the realities of his working life and role as provider are not well known. Many scholarly discussions have dealt with the vicissitudes and structural weaknesses of Korean capitalism, changes to the employment system, and the complexity and instability of family relationships, but there are few full-scale studies of the role and status of the male breadwinner and his position as the intermediary between industrial capitalism and the family. This chapter aims to fi ll that gap in order to better understand the relationship between labour and family during Korea’s recent experience of compressed industrialization.