Law & Social Inquiry

Cover image for Vol. 39 Issue 1

Edited By: Edited by Christopher W. Schmidt. Review Section Editor: Howard S. Erlanger

Impact Factor: 0.644

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 81/138 (Law)

Online ISSN: 1747-4469

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2010 Graduate Student Paper Competition Announcement

We are pleased to announce the results of Law and Social Inquiry’s 2010 Graduate Student Paper Competition. The winner is Jaeeun Kim, a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Editors offer their sincere congratulations. The winning paper will be published during 2011 in a forthcoming issue of the Journal. In the meantime, we are pleased to take this opportunity to honor and acknowledge our winning author and to supply readers with the abstract of the paper as a foretaste of what to expect.
How to Establish Family Relations: Documents, Performance, and Biometric Information in South Korean Immigration Bureaucracy

By Jaeeun Kim

This paper explores the development of and contestations over family-based immigration in South Korea. By examining this empirical case, it aims to answer two general theoretical questions. First, if a foreigner claims to have an “immediate family” relation to a citizen, how does the state adjudicate if this claimed relation is “genuine”? Second, how do migrants make sense of and actively respond to the state’s pursuit of identification? The analysis highlights how bureaucrats and migrants mobilized various “identity tags” to verify or establish claimed family relations and to promote or dismiss particular understandings of personhood, belonging, and entitlement. It also illuminates multiple normative orderings and their complex interrelations in which migrants situated themselves, by which they contested criminality of their offenses, and to which they referred to resolve various disputes. This paper will contribute to the studies of the state’s identification practices and the legal pluralism in the transnational context.