The University of Iowa

CAPS speaker Jan. 25: Gendered Care Work as ‘Free Labor’ in State Employment

January 23rd, 2012

Please join the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies for the following public lecture:

“Gendered Care Work as ‘Free Labor’ in State Employment: School Social Workers in the Education Welfare (Investment) Priority Project in South Korea”

Presented by: Jesook Song, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Uni. of Toronto.
Time: 12:30 – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012
Place: 1117 University Capitol Centre, University of Iowa campus

The ethnographic research elucidates ways in which young women’s care labor is appropriated by the state temporary employment as “free labor” in South Korea, building upon John Krinsky’s notion of free labor as state orchestrated exploitation of workers. Through experience of school social workers who are hired and laid off by the state-run Education Welfare Priority Project as a window of thinking about gendered free labor, this talk examines the uniqueness of South Korean education and welfare reforms in the context of constructing two kinds of youth subjects through the Project: first, older youth as care givers through unstable labor as school social workers; and second, younger youth as care receiver and psychological objects in the context of attributing their problems to individual and internal issues. Further, tracing recent unionization efforts among the school social workers, this talk attempts to understand the context of why and how care labor is not readily recognized as a source of exploitation among school social workers. The talk will contribute to advancing analytic tools for understanding the intersection of state employment/exploitation and gendered care labor as an emerging labor neoliberal sector.