The process of modernisation has created tension and confusion in selfidentity
in spite of its various new opportunities. This impact of modernity is more intense in a non-western society. Korea is experiencing a unique pattern of the dynamics and dilemmas modernity has presented. Korean
women are experiencing clashes between modernity and tradition,
capitalism and Confucianism, and Western and Korean cultural values.
The gap created from these tensions is widely mediated by the logic of
consumerism. This process is clearly revealed in women's values and
attitudes towards food and eating. Although rapid economic development
and social changes have considerably modified people's eating habits,
women's roles and expectations in regard to food and eating are much
more ambiguous and confusing than in the past. Korean advertising
displays sharp contradictions of these aspects. While advertising reflects
and actively reshapes the prevailing images of women, women constantly
reconstitute their identities by selecting, rejecting and negotiating with the
public messages in their everyday lives.
This thesis aims to examine the changing female identities in contemporary
Korea in the process of modernisation and Westernisation by exploring the
tensions and contradictions in regard to women's values and attitudes
towards food and eating, through the examination of the representations of
Korean advertising and women's everyday experiences and negotiations.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.