Cover: In Pursuit of Status: The Making of South Korea’s “New” Urban Middle Class, from Harvard University PressCover: In Pursuit of Status in PAPERBACK

Harvard East Asian Monographs 170

In Pursuit of Status

The Making of South Korea’s “New” Urban Middle Class

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$19.95 • £15.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674007819

Publication Date: 03/30/2002


In Pursuit of Status is an important contribution to the ethnography of Korea and anthropological studies of social stratification. It is perhaps the best introduction to contemporary Korea’s social stratification and urban life that has been published in English.American Ethnologist

Denise Lett’s study of South Korea’s urban middle class…highlights the powerful role culture has played in South Korea’s emergence as a global economic power. Lett’s core argument is that South Koreans possess an ‘underlying drive’ to attain social status, and that this has been a ‘force behind the development of South Korea’s human resources in general, of its new middle class in particular, and ultimately of South Korea itself’ …She backs her argument by analyzing South Korea’s urban middle class in the areas of occupation, family, lifestyle, education, and marriage, and comparing her findings with practices in the yangban era.—James Adam, Japan Times

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