Minwoo Jung

Doctoral Candidate, SociologyUniversity of Southern California

Award Information

2017 IDRF Program

SociologyUniversity of Southern California

The Emergence of Sexual Governance Regimes in Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea

This project analyzes the emergence of varied sexual governance regimes in East Asia. By sexual governance regime, I mean the broad sets of formal and informal institutions and practices that define, categorize, and regulate sexual relationships of the population, thereby assigning dominant and marginalized sexual and gender statuses. Utilizing participant observation, interviews, and discourse analysis, I will compare three cases of the emergence of sexual governance regimes in Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. Despite their similarities in socioeconomic development and cultural backgrounds, these three Asian countries have developed remarkably different sets of legal frameworks, organizational structures, and policy implementations in defining, categorizing, and incorporating newly mobilized sexual identities: state incorporation (Taiwan), state repression (Singapore), and state nonrecognition (South Korea). In order to explain these stark cross-national differences in the institutionalization of sexual governance, I ask three primary questions: 1) How do different state institutions respond to the globally emerging rights claims based on sexuality? 2) How do various non-state local and international actors interact with state institutions? 3) What do these interactions reveal about the changing boundaries and interfaces of the state in the context of state restructuring and globalization? My research attempts to understand how the emerging field of "LGBT human rights" in Asia has become a contested terrain, not only among various state, civic, and corporate actors, but also between domestic state institutions and international agencies. By bringing state and sexuality into an analytic frame vis-à-vis state transformations on a global scale, my comparative research will contribute to gender and sexuality studies in Asia, theories of the state, and scholarship in international human rights.