한국은 최근 이주민의 급격한 증가를 경험하고 있다. 이주민은 오랜 기간 단일 민족 국가였던 한국에 낯선 경험이며 이주 아동은 더욱 낯설다. 한국의 다문화 중도입국 청소년은 최근 새롭게 증가하고 있는 이주 청소년의 한 유형으로 이들에 대해 알려진 것도 거의 없고 초기 적응을 위한 지원 정책도 아직은 개발단계이다. 본 연구는 포토보이스라는 방법을 통해 새롭게 등장한 한국의 다문화 중도 입국 청소년들의 생생한 경험을 이들의 목소리와 이들이 만들어내는 시각적 이미지를 통해 탐색해 보았다. 두 달 동안 경기도 외국인 밀집지역에서 여섯 명의 참여 청소년들과 총 육회기의 포토보이스를 실행했고 참여자들은 총 6개의 주제에 대해 사진을 찍고 내러티브를 만들었다. 참여자 스스로 정한 6개의 주제는 친구, 나의 하루, 문화, 사랑, 나, 그리고 나를 힘들게 하는 것과 힘나게 하는 것이 었다. 본 논문에는 참여 청소년들의 내러티브와 사진들을 제시하고 이에 대한 함의를 논하였다. 중도입국 청소년들은 학교에서 주변화 되기도 하고, 경쟁적이고 학업 위주의 한국 학교 시스템에서 학교 적응에 상당한 어려움을 겪기도 했다. 청소년들은 여러 어려움에도 불구하고 상당히 레질리언트한 모습을 보여줬는데 이들이 그리는 초기 적응의 모습을 바탕으로 초기 지원 프로그램 개발과 정책 개발을 위한 시사점을 논의하였다.
Migration, especially migration across borders, is one of the most distinct and defining characteristics of our time. Most of the affluent countries recently witnessed a rapid increase of immigrant population. Immigrants now account for a significant portion of the general population in many countries, and (South) Korea is no exception. As of July 2013, about 1.5 million foreigners reside in Korea, which accounts for 2.8 per cent of the Korean population (Ministry of Public Administration & Security, 2013), and 2.6 per cent increase from the prior year. Korea is rapidly becoming a multicultural society.
The recent large-scale flux of foreigners, however, is a novel and sometimes perplexing experiences to many Koreans. Korea has long been a mono-ethnic country, contributing to Koreans’ national identity and pride in an important way. Historical changes in the Korean ethnic map began back in the early 1990s. A significant shortage of marriageable women subsequently led to an emerging market of the matchmaking business between Korean men and women from relatively impoverished countries in East and Southeastern Asian regions. As a result, about a half (43.7 per cent) of the currently-registered foreign nationals came to Korea for employment. Much of the remaining half consists of women who came to marry Korean men, as well as the children born from the international marriage.
A particular Korean immigration policy led to distinct experiences of immigrants in Korea: Professionals are allowed to be accompanied by their family members, but low-wage unskilled workers may not immigrate with their families. Therefore, most of the immigrant adolescents settling down in Korea have a unique profile. First, the proportions of immigrant families and youths are small, compared to other host countries worldwide. Second, many immigrant youths in Korea experienced unique pathways to Korea. The most common cases are the youths who had been left behind in their original countries for several years (typically two to five years) while both parents worked in Korea until they finally rejoined their families in Korea. In the cases of divorced families, which is a more typical picture, after several years of separation, one of the parents (typically mothers) working in Korea remarry with a Korean man. And then the children are invited to Korea or adopted by their stepparents and finally settle down in Korea (Jang & Song, 2011).
For policy making and service delivery purposes, immigrant youths who were born and spent most of their times in foreign countries and newly immigrated to Korea as well as adolescents born of Korean men and foreign brides are all categorized as “Multicultural Youths” in Korea. However, in Korea, children and adolescents from families formed through foreign spouse matchmaking who were born and raised in Korea are the stereotypical image of the children of immigration in general. Voices of the youths who were not born in but immigrated to Korea are marginalized in the already-marginalized story of the immigrants in Korean society. Especially during their early immigration and adjustment period, they might have multiple challenges coming from family reunification, language and cultural shocks, and other immigration stressors. Such complex phenomenon has not been studied from the perspectives of their lived experiences.
The present study aims to explore the lived experiences of adolescent immigrants in Korea using Photovoice, an innovative qualitative methodology, which is described in detail in the Methods section. Photovoice was used to capture the experiences of this understudied population in words and visual images, which is expected to bring the new angles of understanding to this understudied population that might be missed by conventional research methods.
Photovoice is a method of participatory research developed by Caroline Wang and Mary Anne Burris in which participants of the research study take photographs that illustrate various aspects of their lives (Novak, 2010). Photovoice is largely inspired by the work of Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator who influenced critical pedagogy. Freire endorsed a type of education in which both the learner and the teacher were viewed as co-creators of knowledge (Carlson, Engebretson, & Chamberlain, 2006). In this vein, Photovoice seeks to break down the barriers that commonly exist between researchers and participants by working in a collaborative manner. Rather than simply being the focus of a study, participants are viewed as co-researchers who are ultimately the experts of their own lives (Duffy, 2011). Through the use of photography, participants are able to share their world with viewers, as well as provide a visual testimony of the everyday realities they face. These photographs often then become the subject for interviews or focus groups where the participant has the opportunity to further describe or explain the photographs meaning (Wilson et al., 2007).
Photovoice has the ability to empower marginalized populations by making their voices heard, often for the first time. The narratives that arise from the photographs are able to tell a story that words alone cannot express, while enabling participants a level of control over the research process and outcomes. Photovoice decreases the risk of researcher bias or influence because the participants have ultimate control over the photographic process (Jurkowski & Paul-Ward, 2007). Also, what the participants discuss is not determined by the researcher, but by the participants themselves through a group consensus process. Furthermore, the use of images allows for greater participation among those who may otherwise be left out, such as individuals who cannot read or write as well as people with physical or cognitive impairments which make communication difficult. Similarly, images are able to convey a feeling or idea across cultures and language barriers (Dumbrill, 2009). For these reasons, the interest in Photovoice is growing among researchers who seek to empower participants to bring greater awareness to important issues or create social change.
Photovoice has been successfully used with a wide variety of populations including: cancer survivors (Yi & Zebrack, 2010), former child soldiers in Sierra Leone (Denov, Doucet & Kamara, 2012), single mothers (Duffy, 2011), people living with dementia (Genoe, & Dupuis, 2011), homeless people (Halifax, Yurichuk, Meeks, & Khandor, 2008), Hispanic immigrants (Schwartz, Sable, Dannerbeck, & Campbell, 2007), people living with a mental illness (Thompson et al., 2008), and mentally disabled people (Jurkowski, 2008). Photovoice has also been used in school settings to investigate adolescent issues. One study investigated the opinions of high school aged students’ about the well being of their school environment (Wyra, Lawson, & Askell-Williams, 2011). The project was able to highlight the ways in which schoolyard interactions influenced classroom behaviors. Another school used a Photovoice project to give English Language Learning students the opportunity to express the struggles and cultural experiences in the classroom (Kusak, 2009). Additional issues investigated include the learning experiences of at-risk middle school students (Neslon & Christensen, 2009), alcohol and drug education (Wilson, Minkler, Dasho, Wallerstein, &Martin, 2008) and the impacts of immigration on the school experience (Streng et al., 2004)
We employed the innovative qualitative methodology for this study to hear the unheard voices from the Korean adolescent immigrants in as unoppressive a manner as we could conceive. Although different ways of adopting and applying Photovoice have been used for practical reasons in other studies, we followed the original Photovoice procedure according to Caroline Wang, the developer of the methodology.
This study is a collaborative effort between a research team in a university setting and a community youth center in one of the largest ethnic enclaves of immigrants in Korea. The enclave is entrenched in a medium-sized city where many immigrants settled down. As of 2011, 41 per cent of the registered in this town are foreign-born, but an estimated 70 per cent when unregistered foreigners are counted, (Personal communication with a local public official 09/20/2011). The Photovoice project was conducted in a community youth center serving the immigrant youths in the region where the authors have built a relationship.
From the inception of our study, service providers shared research ideas and their insights about the study design and recruitment. These service providers included community center staff members, teachers, school social workers, public officials in the region as well as the immigrant adolescents and their families engaged in the study. A total of six immigrant adolescents who spent most of their lifetime in a foreign country and had recently immigrated to Korea participated in the study. They had ethnic heritage from China, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Detailed characteristics of the participants are summarized in Table 1. Authors tried to recruit as diverse participants as possible in terms of their country of origin, gender, type of school (i.e., regular public school, alternative school), and type of family (i.e., stepfamily, two- or one-parent family).
The Photovoice project was conducted over a period of two months, from June through July, 2011. Immigrant adolescents who were born in a foreign country, lived at least 70% of their life in a foreign country and who are between 13 and 17 years old were recruited. A total of six sessions and one orientation session were completed. The project team consisted of two investigators who have expertise in immigration and adolescence issues and qualitative and Photovoice methodologies; three graduate students who were trained in qualitative methodologies; and a Chinese native speaker who was also a graduate student in social work. We started the project with an orientation session where we distributed digital cameras to participants and gave brief instructions for usage. Also, we briefly discussed concepts of Photovoice with the participants. For practice, they took pictures of themselves or other participants in and around the center. At the end of the orientation the facilitator informed the participants of the theme for the next week, “friend,” and gave them an assignment to take pictures in keeping with the theme. From the second week, however, the participants discussed as a group and decided the theme for the week so that the themes would reflect their experiences as immigrants.
The participating adolescents met on every Thursday at 7 pm. Each session lasted for about 2 hours, consisting of a brief pre-interview and a main session. Research staff welcomed the participants as they came to the center, and conducted brief, individual pre-interviews for about ten minutes to download the photographs to the computers and ask the participant to choose one or two pictures key to the theme of the week that they want to share in the main session. The participants were also asked to put a title to the chosen photos. Researchers asked questions about relevance of the picture with the theme of the week (e.g.,“what are you seeing in this picture?”; “What is happening in this picture?”;“How do you feel about his situation?”and;“why does this happen?” etc.) (Wallerstein, 1987). After the individual interviews, participants gathered in an hour-long facilitated group discussion where they shared the chosen photos and discussed the themes in them. Although the participants had no problem in communicating in Korean, a Chinese interpreter was present in case of communication difficulties. At the end of the hour, each group reached consensus on a theme for the next photo-documentation period. After the last session we celebrated the completion of the project and reflected on what we did together. All interviews and group discussions were audio-taped and professionally transcribed verbatim.
The audiotapes of all individual interviews and group discussions were transcribed in their original language, Korean. In total, eithgt hours of individual interviews and six hours of group discussions were included for analysis. The photos were used as visual representations of the participants’ narratives, not as data in and of themselves.
We used the themes generated by participants as an organizing framework or template for data derived from the individual interviews and group sessions. Because the participants were supposed to take photographs and have discussions about the group theme on each day, we analyzed the transcripts from each day separately. For example, all the transcripts from a specific day were analyzed to find the subthemes of that day. In detail, the five authors of this study conducted open coding (Glaser & Strauss, 1967)to condense the data into analyzable units by assigning shorter phrases or codes to segments of the transcripts, ranging from a single phrase to several paragraphs and then we used the constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1990)to cluster the codes into new categories. Through this process, subthemes emerged under the template theme of the day. This procedure for finding subthemes under each template theme was repeated for each day. Only several photographs out of the 58 key photos chosen by the participants are included in this paper as illustrations.
A demographic description of the sample is described in Table 1. All the names of the participants in this paper are pseudonyms.