Jiwoon Yu-Lee successfully defended her dissertation Expressive Struggles: Neoliberal Temporalities and Social Reproduction of Feminized Labor in South Korea, on June 1, 2018.
Advisor Priti Ramamurthy:
Jiwoon defended her terrific dissertation, "Expressive Struggles; Neoliberal Temporalities and the Social Reproduction of Feminized Labor in South Korea" successfully this afternoon. The dissertation is a rich and powerful meditation on what the life stories of women who do janitorial labor as contingent workers in universities in Seoul tell us about contemporary capitalism as it is lived in South Korea. Based on ethnography, life stories, participation in legal negotiations, protests, and historical research Jiwoon argues that the condition of precarity in women's lives is not new but carried as embodied knowledges; that following women's lives and work routines illustrates how their laboring bodies move between home and work constantly negotiating what she calls "spatial intimacies" and value; their creativity expressed in relationship to other humans, non-humans, objects allow us to re-imagine normative time (life cycle time, clock time, state developmentalist time, union time, socially necessary time) and resistance. Her committee-- Professors Hwasook Nam, Shirley Yee, Chandan Reddy, Clark Sorenson (GSR) and I-- were unanimous that Jiwoon's scholarship makes brilliant and bold contributions to the feminist literature on social reproduction, the marxist literature on neoliberalism and precarity, and the literature on the Korean state, unions, and law. We can all look forward to manifestations of expressive struggles as a book, and more.