Transnational authenticity: power, place, food, and affect: examining the habitus of kyopo restaurateurs in Seoul
지도교수 : 나윤경
This thesis examines the increasing incidence of restaurants owned and operated by Kyopos of the millennial generation in Seoul. Drawing from interviews with 15 Kyopo restaurateurs, I argue that structural forces and life experiences have contributed to the formation of a habitus specific to this community of entrepreneurs. I call this the habitus of transnational authenticity. This habitus occasions a particular set of dispositions whereby authenticity claims are (per)formed in relation to transnational flows of culture and deployed through positions of capital leverage within a locally situated market arena. Ultimately, this habitus culminates in market opportunity structures in the form of Western food restaurants as both a practical means of social and economic gain and various affective commitments for Kyopos in Seoul. Respondents differentiated between themselves and other restaurants serving Western food that were owned and operated by Korean nationals through competing claims made on culinary authenticity. Because respondents believed they were able to produce authentic versions of Western foods, their restaurants were thought to have the power to transform Seoul’s ersatz culinary cosmopolitanism into an authentic culinary cosmopolitanism and thereby contribute to the city’s overall cultural development. In other words, cultural development was perceived to equate to culinary cosmopolitanism ？ and that certain forms of culinary cosmopolitanism were considered more authentic than others. According to this logic, local Korean restaurants failed to reproduce authentic iterations of the foods they claimed to serve. This failure was often attached to the perception of shrewd, profit-driven logics that sacrificed taste, quality, and originality for a quick buck. The foods and spaces found at these restaurants were thought of more as spectacle and simulacra, then sincere and faithful culinary experiences. In contrast, respondents viewed themselves as stewards at the vanguard of a genuine culinary cosmopolitanism emerging in Seoul ？ poised to transform Seoul’s lackluster culinary landscape into one befitting of a world-class city. This self-image was couched in terms of having access to authentic tastes, an ethic of craftsmanship, and an entrepreneurial spirit that prized quality of product over quantity of profit. Ideas of authenticity function as a potent, discursive glue that binds the life experiences and self-image of my respondents into coherent self-narratives. The patterns in these self-narratives index a misrecognition whereby authenticity is thought to be self-evident and composed of a set of natural dispositions rather than arising from a terrain of discursive struggle, the contours of which are shaped by various forms of capital and positions of social leverage. I call this misrecognition the habitus of transnational authenticity. This habitus rests on an accumulation of various forms of capital that constitute positions within a social field and inform the ways respondents interact with this field. Such dispositions produced similar propensities of taste, technique, and technologies of cross-cultural translation among respondents. (1) Tastes of the tongue and as a mark of distinction in the Bourdieuivian sense; (2) Techniques related to the production process of culinary products and approaches to the market arena; and (3) Technologies of translation that communicate a particular cultural landscape of food and food practices to themselves, to each other and to presumed consuming publics intertwine and inform a moral cosmology that orients respondents in the the market arena. Similar positions in the market arena as well as similar understandings of these positions encouraged respondents to deploy similar formations of capital in similar fashions. The results of these practices culminated in (1) reformations of the market materialized in spatial and culinary practices and (2) the (re)production of affective ties to community and commitments to self authenticity. Despite coming from diverse backgrounds and demonstrating various degrees of interrelation among each other, data collected from interviews, first hand observations of restaurants, and media revealed that this group of individuals often work as a community, whether they were aware of it or not. Individual responses to market constraints lead to community based responses that demonstrate economic strategies that both parallel and diverge from patterns of ethnic entrepreneurship as a result of their unique position within the market arena of Seoul’s restaurant industry. A major reason for these divergences can be attributed to the difference in accumulated forms of capital ？ both in degree and kind - in contrast to 1st generation ethnic migrants from developing countries who move to developed countries seeking better economic opportunities. One way to account for this differential in capital are the ways conversion and augmentation hinged on the symbolic capital arising through transnational movement. One of the main structural factors contributing to respondents’ similar positions regarding the market arena arise from a particular ensemble of economic and social privileges attached their F-4 visa status ？ commonly referred to as the “overseas Korean” (재외동포) visa. Unlike other foreign residents living in Korea, F-4 visa holders benefit from, inter alia, job freedom, indefinite visa renewal, and are waived from the expensive fees required to obtain a business visa. F-4 visa status opens pathways to entrepreneurialism in Korea that come with less restrictions than those faced by other foreign residents or which are entirely out of reach for some. At the same time, by limiting or blocking whole communities from entering the market, the state’s regimes of graduated sovereignty and hierarchized system of ethno-national belonging, evacuated competing authenticity claims thereby enabling respondents to secure monopolies over the symbolic economies of authenticity in regards to Western foods. Thus, the privileges that accrue from respondents’ visa capital set the backdrop for entrepreneurial pathways into the market arena of Seoul’s restaurant industry. The pathways by which respondents chose to become restaurateurs and their selection of specific foods and food practices emerged from a ‘matching process’ between forces of demand (e.g., growth potential and accessibility in the locally situated market) and supply (e.g., available capital resources and personalized affective commitments to authenticity). Respondents choose foods that were (1) personally significant; (2) appealed to Western consumers as authentic; and (3) would benefit from the cultural capital attached to the exotic appeal of an unfamiliar food in relation to local Korean consumers. These three requirements present separate spheres of authenticity with their own unique, but interrelated, symbolic economies. Selecting an appropriate food that could operate within an opportunity structure of Seoul’s market arena becomes akin to finding where all three spheres overlap as in a three-way Venn diagram. Furthermore, in settling on a restaurant concept, respondents sought to (1) integrate and coincide these different symbolic economies and then (2) reconcile these ideas with the practical demands and constraints of the locally situated market context. This process not only underscores the negotiable and processual nature of authenticity, it also highlights the socially and spatially situated forces (and cultural flows) that shape these pathways. Thus, respondents’ restaurant choices emerged through an intertwining of instrumental logics and affective commitments. Respondents’ restaurants result from a negotiation between their self-narratives motivated by a commitment to authenticity and the practical demands of a locally situated market arena. No doubt, seeking better economic opportunities figured as a salient reason for respondents’ migration to Korea. However, respondents’ responses to market constraints and opportunity structures did not hinge on the mere possibility of generating economic profit alone. Rather, respondents also sought out forms of self-directed work that was considered to be more meaningful than the jobs that were perceived to be available back in their home countries. Their restaurants provide experimental training grounds in which respondents cultivate both a passion for the culinary and an ethos of craftsmanship they apply to their products. This ethos was also reflected in their desire to create social space that felt comfortable and familiar to them and their intimate social network. Respondents sought to create a sense of place that not only reflected their sense of self authenticity but also one that could facilitate affective forms of belonging. In this way, respondents have negotiated the vagaries of late capitalism by creating humanizing work they find enjoyable and satisfying. However, at times, this same ethos induced respondents to misread and misrecognize their own capital and privileges and therefore situated them in ambivalent positions vis-？-vis exclusionary social practices such as gentrification. Finally, the particular ways that respondents deployed capital in the market not only contributed to their economic success, but also helped knit together a community of entrepreneurs that have developed various forms of mutually beneficial support. To put it succinctly, respondents’ responses to the market arena were both driven by instrumental logics and affective desires and the fine line between these two is not so easily delineated.
주제: 초국가주의 ; 정통성 ; 교포 ; 음식 ; 아비투스 ; 정체성 ; 기업가 정신 ; transnationality ; authenticity ; kyopo ; food ; habitus ; identity ;entrepreneurship