A transnational religious institution and its role on the construction of collective agency: a case of Korean military brides in a Korean immigrant religious institution
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Literature on contemporary immigrants suggest that increasing volume of transnational practices foster agency construction across borders, thereby disjoining geographical space and social space in which identities are constructed and negotiated. Unlike the majority of previous studies, this study examines the agency dynamics among less mobile immigrants who develop their agency by creating and negotiating boundaries through the practices of identity management in the wave of transnationalism that occurs in an immigrant church. Based on focus group interview with fifteen Korean military brides, participant observation, and survey with the congregation of a Mid-Western Korean immigrant church, the study reveals that through a new social space, Korean military brides not only created more exclusive, closed, and homogeneous community within a Korean community, but their community becomes broader with comprehensive "imagined communities." This study also indicates that their efforts to create an own boundary comes with the change in their identity management from “commuter” to “integrator” in which their identities become more flexible and multi-layered, and it suggests that this effort is the part their gradual adaptation as well as resistance to assimilation to the wave of transnationalism.
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