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The Politics of Gender in Colonial KoreaEducation, Labor, and Health, 1910-1945$
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Theodore JunYoo

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520252882

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520252882.001.0001

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Discoursing in Numbers: The Female Worker and the Politics of Gender

Discoursing in Numbers: The Female Worker and the Politics of Gender

(p.127) Chapter Four Discoursing in Numbers: The Female Worker and the Politics of Gender
The Politics of Gender in Colonial Korea

Theodore Jun Yoo

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on labor unrest among Korean women workers and the public debate among Korean reformers and the Japanese state about how to reassert control over this unruly group. It highlights the paradoxical image of the female worker as at once a helpless victim of economic oppression and an assertive activist. Her image as victim rendered her less threatening (i.e., as a ward of the state or of bourgeois philanthropy) while her activism raised the specter of social disruption and violence. As the economic crisis of the Japanese empire intensified in the 1930s, concessions to Korean female workers declined, leading to more militant strikes that were better organized both in terms of national and socialist ideology.

Keywords:   labor unrest, Korean women workers, Japanese state, Korean reformers, socialist ideology, women activism

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