2023 Holland Prize Recipient: Darcie Draudt-Véjares

Pacific Affairs is delighted to announce the 22nd William L. Holland Prize for the best article published in Volume 96, No. 4 (2023).

Congratulations to Darcie Draudt-Véjares for her article “Multicultural at the Meso-Level: Governing Diversity within the Family in South Korea”.


Darcie Draudt-Véjares

Princeton University, Princeton, USA

Darcie Draudt-Véjares is a Fellow for Korean Studies in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. A political scientist and policy analyst, she publishes regular commentary on South and North Korean domestic politics and foreign policy, Northeast Asian relations, and US-Korea policy.

Email: darcie.draudt@ceip.org


Governing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia: Shifting Capacity under a Fragmented Political Leadership

Por Heong Hong

Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

The Forgotten Victims of the Atomic Bomb: North Korean Pipokja and the Politics of Victimhood in Japan-DPRK Relations

Lauren Richardson

Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

About the article

Departing from existing studies that largely focus on gender roles, norm diffusion, or ethnonationalism, this compelling paper highlights policy siting as an understudied factor in determining why and when states manage cultural diversity. Using the case of South Korea’s family-centred multicultural policy, the paper contributes to the growing body of literature on comparative policymaking, multiculturalism, and multi-level citizenship by foregrounding the processes by which governing elites target specific meso-level social institutions as privileged sites of diversity governance. Drawing on immersive field research conducted between 2017 and 2023, the paper offers a rich discussion of the contemporary political ramifications of Korea’s multiculturalism and prospects for future broadening and deepening. With a strong, policy-focused analysis highly relevant to contemporary discussions on multiculturalism and integration, and through an original engagement with the comparative literature on multi-culturalism, this important contribution manifests a deep knowledge of Korean society and combines theoretical rigour with empirical breadth.

Interview Questions

1. Can you tell us about some of the intellectual and personal reasons you became interested in the subject?

Simply, living in Korea for many years. I was curious about whom Koreans and the Korean government defined as “foreigner” (oegukin) versus “migrant” (imin) versus foreign-national Korean (dongpo/gyopo). When I began graduate studies, I found Korea’s marriage migration phenomenon raised new conceptual questions about why does multicultural gains traction as a policy framework in a largely homogeneous society, and also how multiculturalism can (and usually does) serve as a site of exclusion as much as inclusion.

2. What is the central argument of your article in a nutshell?

Drawing from field research and policy analysis, I show how existing social institutions and legal frameworks create context-dependent multicultural policy. Dominant concepts of multicultural policy focus on ethnic group relations, but Korea’s case shows that because policymakers combined family policy and immigration policy to create what I term familial multiculturalism, meaning the state locates diversity governance mainly within the family and between family and broader society.

3. Were there any unexpected challenges or developments during the process of on-the-ground research?

I conducted the research over many years so I followed up with the same informants and field sites multiple times. Sometimes the government officials or civil society workers would move or be transferred. This provided some challenges to find new contacts, but the process of their career development also provided important insights into how peoples’ longer-term trajectories influenced policy change in multiple arenas.

4. What might be some of the implications of your argument and research for studies of decentralization (and/or other subjects) beyond Northeast Asia to other parts of Asia and the world?

By situating analysis at meso-level social institutions, I hope for the article to cast cross-national analysis of multicultural policy in new light. If we only study multicultural as a matter of ethnic-group relations, we miss out important ways the state can choose to or choose not to regulate various sorts of cultural diversity, such as among/between genders, religious affiliations, or socioeconomic orders.

5. What did you find most challenging, rewarding, or interesting about the review process?

The review process was challenging and intensive, but I can sincerely say that the feedback from reviewers and editors was instrumental in elevating my piece theoretically, as it provided invaluable feedback and guidance to bridge my deep empirical work spanning a decade with a fresh conceptual reframing that, hopefully, will facilitate more transnational or cross-national interrogation of diversity governance outside of Northeast Asia.