How National Identity Shapes South Koreans’ Attitudes toward North Korea and Its Defectors

By JeongKyu Suh.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The present study examines the effects of the national identity on South Koreans’ attitudes toward national reunification and North Korean defectors. Statistical analysis using the 2013 Korean General Social Survey reveals that two dimensions of national identity, i.e., ethnic (exclusive) and civic (inclusive), affect opinions on issues regarding North Korea in a noticeably different manner. South Koreans high on ethnic factor are less likely to support national reunification, while those high on civic factor are more likely to support it. Also, individuals high on ethnic factor are more likely to harbor negative attitudes toward migrants from North Korea. These findings are consistent with those from previous studies suggesting a long-term political division has led South Koreans to regard North Korea and its citizens as an out-group, who, despite shared culture and history, are clearly distinct from their own in-group.

Keywords: National Identity, Intergroup Relations, Reunification, North Korean Defectors, Public Opinion

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.13-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.312MB).

JeongKyu Suh

MA Student, Department of Political Science, Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea