On 30 January 2018, Juhee Kang, a Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute in Macau, delivered a talk on her research on the mobile use among North Korean women in South Korea. The talk was hosted by Prof. Jack Qui and Prof. Saskia Witteborn at the Centre for Chinese Media and Comparative Communication Research of the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).
The research talk, entitled “The Flip from Fraught to Assumed use: Mobile Communications of North Korean women during their journey to South Korea“, examined the roles of mobile phones in the migration journey of North Korean women who flipped their home between two Koreas. Juhee presented an analysis on their mobile use behaviors during the journey, which were restricted, clandestine and fraught with danger and fear, but also critically instrumental for the escape. The talk also explored the idea of “the flip” to illuminate the contrasting socio-cultural structures and different power relations surrounding their mobile use between the North and the South.
The talk was attended by various communication scholars and graduate students of the CUHK, as well as members of the public who were interested in the issues of North Korea. The talk was followed by a discussion session, where participants drew parallels between the behavior of the North Korean migrants and other types of forced migrants; and how the research contributes to the understanding of mobile communication behaviors among vulnerable populations.