From Elder to Ancestor

Old Age, Death and Inheritance in Modern Korea

This insightful account of the treatment and provision for an ageing population in South Korea is based on intensive fieldwork in the county of Puan, and adds considerably to the literature in what is happening in the fusion between older Korean culture and modern Western individualism. The structure of the book revolves around an analysis of the roles of the individual and family in the evolution of a capitalist Asian society at the start of the twenty-first century. It asks what it means to grow old in modern Korea. The study also reflects the post-war history of Korea: in just two generations a hard-working and organized people have turned a war-racked and poverty-stricken country into one of the world’s leading economies. In addition, Korea has shown its resilience and capacity to adjust to changing circumstances by achieving a remarkable recovery from the Asian economic crisis of the 1990s.

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David Prendergast received his Doctorate from Cambridge University in 2002 and is currently a research scholar at the Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, where he is addressing similar questions regarding kin relations and the end of the life-course in the UK.
List of Figures, Tables, and Maps; List of Plates; Acknowledgements; Foreword by Professor Alan Macfarlane; 1. Family and Society in Modern South Korea; 2. Landscapes of Puan; 3. Filial Piety and the Structural Construction of Kin Responsibilities; 4. Residence and Retirement in Theory and Practice; 5. Ties that Bind: Marriage, Gender and the Care of the Elderly; 6. Village Funerals in Puan County: The Creation and Care of Ancestors; 7. Recent Transformations in Korean Mortuary Practices; 8. Inheritance and the Korean Family; 9. Concluding Remarks: Korea’s Looming Ageing Population Crisis; Bibliography; Glossary of Korean Terms; Index
College/higher education