East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

Nov 18 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents


‘It works because it works badly’: Meaning of Business Trip in Sino-Korean Food Trade


Heangjin Park

PhD Student

Department of Anthropology

University of Chicago


4:30-6pm, Tuesday

November 18, 2014

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.


In this paper, I will discuss the configurations, intentions, and meanings of the business trip made by Korean traders who import food products from China. Making frequent business trips (“chuljang”) to China, Korean traders aspire to manipulate the chain of production and transportation to be more in accordance with their goals—minimizing the “friction” between production and consumption that have been created by their own outsourcing strategy. At the same time, the business trip is regarded as an “unmediated” interaction with their partners, a means by which Korean traders deliver their complaints and requirements, and build an affective relationship (“guanxi”) with their partners. However, their ideal of the business trip is to be consistently in disjuncture from realities because of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Why and how do they continue to make business trips which do not function as they expect? How does a “failure” function in globalized economic transactions? I will answer these questions based on my own fieldwork experience with Korean and Chinese traders in food industry.



Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Wen Xie (wxie@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song


This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.