The city, self, and connections : transyouth and urban social networking in Seoul
Choi, Jaz Hee-jeong (2010) The city, self, and connections : transyouth and urban social networking in Seoul. In Hemelryk Donald, S., Anderson, T., & Spry, D. (Eds.) Youth, Society and Mobile Media in Asia. Routledge, London, New York, pp. 88-107.
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The end of the Korean War in 1953 marked the beginning of Seoul’s transformation from the shattered capital city of South Korea to one of the most connected, populous, and fast-changing hubs of global economy. Seoul’s technosocial development has been celebrated nationally and internationally. To the outside, young Koreans’ swift and extensive adoption and adaptation to digital technologies has been a subject of exotification; to adults in Korea, it has been a subject of criticism (see Yoon in this volume). With the understanding that ‘the city is connections,’ it is crucial to study not only the macro-level design of the city as a network (through policy, for example), but also its micro-level construction at the intersection of people, place, and technology. Accordingly, this chapter explores this exact intersection to comprehensively portray the constant renewal of the city as imagined and experienced by young Koreans. The chapter is based on fieldwork conducted in Seoul, South Korea, from 2007 to 2008 as part of a research project on the mobile play culture of Seoul transyouth, the transitional demographic situated between youth and adulthood, and the pioneers of the Korean ‘broadband miracle’ (Hazlett, 2004). The study draws upon transdisciplinary research data including interviews, questionnaires, diaries, and Shared Visual Ethnography (SVE) to render the everyday urban social networking of young Seoulites with and through which they interact to constantly (re)create the city and the self.
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