Annotation: Cheng, Sealing. 2010. On the Move for Love

Cheng, Sealing. 2010. On the Move for Love: Migrant Entertainers and the U.S. Military in South Korea. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Cheng presents the global context that has brought about the gendered “ethnoscape” (Appadurai) in Dongducheon, situating the presence of foreign migrant entertainers as emerging from the political and military relations of the Korean Peninsula with the United States. The economic growth of South Korea has led to the gradual withdrawal of local women from the prostitution sector, which was later filled by the “foreign” and “fallen” women of Filipino and Russian descent (Chapter 2). As foreign sex workers, Filipino women become doubly marginalized because of the perceived impurity of gijichon, and because of the invoking of nationalism, economic and ethnic position by Korean gijichon women, which pushes foreigners further, into the very peripheries of the borderlands. The author discusses women migrant workers imagined by the Philippine state as “willing victims,” as seen in the state-sponsored spectacle of overseas migration as “modern heroism” due to the substantial contribution of overseas remittances to the nation’s failing economy. Cheng also devotes attention to the governments of both South Korea and the Philippines as participating in the simultaneous regulation and criminalization of prostitution (60). Cheng asks (88) “Does the conception of women’s agency and alternative visions stop when they participate in sexual-economic exchange?”

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