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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ms Dorota Szawarska

MA (Warsaw), BA (Cambridge)


Dorota Szawarska
Ms Dorota Szawarska
Email address:
Thesis title:
Kinship – an ambivalent relation: the case of Sakhalin Korean Repatriates
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Kinship, life-course, social solidarity, exchange of support, Russia and South Korea, Central Asia, distance

PhD Research

The purpose of my research is to understand the process of balancing familial obligations and cares and maintenance of social solidarity across significant geographical distance between parents and children. Bearing in mind the rise in international migration, especially among young Koreans, this phenomenon is of growing social, political and moral relevance, not only in the academia, but also in terms of policy planning and understanding future exchanges of support and care between adult children and geographically distant elderly parents. The PhD thesis is based on fieldwork I carried out among elderly Koreans repatriated from the Sakhalin Island to South Korea, and their children remaining in Russia. The elderly Koreans in question lived on the Sakhalin Island for 60 years or so (most of them were forced to move there by the Japanese in 1930s and 40s, some are elderly children of forced labourers and early settlers, some), and were allowed to return to Korea 8-10 years ago. However their children had to stay behind in Russia. My research focuses on how kinship is practiced, maintained, created and rethought through exchange of support and provision of care and how people attempt to achieve balance between sometimes conflicting family relationships and obligations.

PhD Publications

Dorota Szawarska, “Economy of love and gratitude, or why do elderly Sakhalin Koreans carry on supporting their adult children and grandchildren”, accepted for publication in BAKS papers, vol. 12, 2008.

PhD Conferences

Ms Dorota Szawarska”Why do elderly Sakhalin Korean repatriates carry on supporting their adult children remaining on Sakhalin?” Presented during the 8th International Society of Korean Studies International Conference. SOAS, University of London. 2007 August 16th

“Love or reason – or why do elderly Sakhalin Korean repatriates carry on supporting their adult children remaining on Sakhalin?” Presented at the 4th Korean Studies Graduate Students Convention in Europe, University of Edinburgh. 2007 October 24-26th

“Caring from a Distance: Sakhalin Koreans Balancing Love, Compassion and Familial Duties”
To be presented at Who Cares and How conference, at Max Planck Institute, Halle, Germany, in July 2008.


Hanyang University , South Korea (during fieldwork)