Iain Sands

Iain Sands


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Works at Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies
Telephone 08-16 17 84
Visiting address Kräftriket 4B
Room 7
Postal address Koreanska 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I completed by MA (First Class Honours) in Asian Studies at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. My MA thesis title was Exiles in the 'Ethnic Homeland' - Trauma, Discourse, and the Negotiation of Diasporic Identity for North Koreans in South Korea.

I studied Korean language at Sogang University in Seoul, and visited North Korea for the first time in 2015.



My PhD research focuses on investigating issues of trauma, exile and belonging for North Korean refugees in South Korea. Working at the intersection of anthropological and sociological enquiry this research constitutes an ethnographic study that looks into North Korean refugees' settlement experiences in South Korea with a focus on power structures and the impacts of traumatic forced migration.

Specifically, the research considers the relationship between life traumas and performance cultures amongst North Korean defectors who have migrated to and settled in South Korea over the last two decades. Performance cultures can encompass such activities as musical performance, drama, dance, literary expression, religious evangelism, political protests, and forms of identity negotiation such as identity switching (for example concealing North Korean identity or passing as South Korean or as Korean-Chinese). The research explores whether performance cultures may potentially open a space for North Koreans to gain political agency through which to overcome traumas and address the unequal power balance between themseves and their South Korean hosts.



Last updated: October 2, 2017

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