The Development of Marriage Migrant Policies in South Korea: a case study on policy framing development Open Access

Song, Hangyul (2017)

Permanent URL:


This honors thesis analyzes marriage migrant policy framing development in South Korea to better understand marriage migrant policy developments process and furthermore to test the existing policy framing theories. South Korea's rapid industrialization and urbanization led to an increasing number of rural bachelors seeking for brides abroad, hence commencing the feminized international marriage migration in South Korea. This phenomenon increased throughout the 2000's and revealed multiple social problems arising from maltreatment of and the lack of protection for migrant population. The South Korean government responded to these issues through policies with particular frames such as multicultural families, promoting healthy family, and managing marriage brokerage market. Policy framing theories assume that these policy frames were developed through a bottom-up process and in conjunction with agenda setting. This paper tests these two assumptions by identifying and assessing the roles of actors involved in four episodes of marriage migrant policy development. Expert interviews and secondary data collection revealed that both civil society actors and state actors participated in creating frames for marriage migrant policies to a varying degree in each episode. Civil society actors mainly participated in agenda setting and issue framing while state actors framed the policy solution to the problems. The results showed that marriage migrant policy framing development was overall a more top-down process than a bottom-up process. Additionally, the analysis revealed the need to distinguish framing of the issues from framing of the solutions in order to assess the connectivity between agenda setting and framing. Lastly, a comparison between marriage migrant policy case and migrant workers' movement case in South Korea depicted that the strength of civil society organization and the policy intention of the state can alter the actors' role in policy framing.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1 Part I: The Background on Marriage Migration in South Korea 4 Part II: Theory and Research Design 15

Part III: Framing of Marriage Migrant Policies in South Korea 22

[1] Birth of the Multicultural Family Support Frame 22 [2] The Market Management Frame 34 [3] The Return of Immigration Framing: 2011- 2014 39

[4] An Increased Emphasis on Healthy Family and the Weakening of the Multiculturalism Frame: 2013 to 2017 43

Part IV: A Case Comparison with Social Movement Policy Framing in South Korea 51

Part V: Conclusion, Discussion, and Suggestions 60 Interview Referenc 66 Reference 67

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files