SOCIETY IS A FAMILY: social exclusion and social dystopia in South Korean films

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The family lies at the heart of Korean ideology and social organisation. Yet, the conceptual metaphor SOCIETY IS A FAMILY has grim implications for children who are socially excluded or abandoned when their birth family disintegrates or is refashioned to their disadvantage after the loss of a parent. Such children may find they have no place either in family or society and are thus ostracised, maltreated or generally impoverished materially and emotionally. Films often perceive the plight of such children as a metonymy of a more extensive dystopian element in a society structured around processes of inclusion and exclusion. Separately and together, the three contemporary films discussed in this analysis offer a sharp critique of social values in South Korea.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsian children's literature and film in a global age
Subtitle of host publicationlocal, national, and transnational trajectories
Editors Bernard Wilson, Sharmani Patricia Gabriel
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789811526312
ISBN (Print)9789811526305
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Publication series

NameAsia-Pacific and Literature in English
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2524-7638
ISSN (Electronic)2524-7646


  • conceptual metaphor
  • family
  • dystopia
  • adoption
  • multiculturalism
  • social exclusion


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