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The Role of Immigrant Churches in the Ethnic Socialization of Korean American Youths

  • Kang, Hyeyoung (Binghamton University, State University of New York)
  • Received : 2016.09.12
  • Accepted : 2017.02.10
  • Published : 2017.02.28

Abstract

This study explored the role of Korean immigrant churches as a social context for Korean American youths, with a specific focus on its role in ethnic socialization. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 23 Korean American young adults. The results show that such churches serve as a salient social context for Korean American youths in which day-to-day lives are deeply integrated. Specifically, they serve as a salient context for coethnic peer relationships and family interactions. Moreover, Korean immigrant churches play a salient role as an agent of enculturation for Korean American youths by engaging them in cultural socialization, constructing and transmitting immigrant discourse, and providing a coethnic community. Taken as whole, findings suggest a distinct and salient role of immigrant churches in the lives of Korean American youths and highlight the importance of studying the social context specific to the children of immigrants.