Two ways of articulating heterogeneity in Korean American narratives of ethnic identity

Adrienne LO, Munkyung Agnes KANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)


This article explores the role of language in constructing relational identities among 1.5- and second-generation Korean Americans. Using the methodology of discourse analysis, we reveal two ways of articulating social divisions within the Korean American community among 1.5- and second-generation Korean Americans in Los Angeles. We analyze how their narratives present different ideologies about identity as: 1) an attribute determined by factors not under an individual's control or 2) an observable accomplishment, capable of being easily modified by individual choice. We analyze the discursive features of these two discourses, which we call the discourse of dispositions and the discourse of agency, and we discuss the implications of this research for theories of race and ethnicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-116
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Asian American Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


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