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양현아, Imaginary Construction of the Mother’s ‘Empty Blood’: Patrilineal Surname Law in Korea and its Significance (2018)

아태법
2021-02-05
조회수 240

양현아, "Imaginary Construction of the Mother’s ‘Empty Blood’: Patrilineal Surname Law in Korea and its Significance", Journal of Korean Law, Vol. 18, No. 1 (2018), pp. 83-112.

<Abstract>

This article begins with the question if the patrilineal surname system as the law in Korea is only ‘symbolic.’ If this is the case, what has this symbolic meant for? In order to address these questions, the article takes a look at the various layers of ‘law’ regarding the surname system in Korea, that is, provisions such as the old and current versions of Civil Code Articles 781, the constitutional review of this Article at the Constitutional Court in 2005, and the CEDAW provision regarding equal parental rights regarding children’s surname, which has been reserved in Korea from its ratification in 1984 until today in 2018. Then, it examines the meaning of maternal lineage and paternal lineage, and will demonstrate that the surname system is what rendered the mother’s genealogy, blood, and symbolic value virtually ‘empty.’ Although the significance of the male-centered surname system to women tends to be underrepresented even in the feminist studies in Korea, the effects of male-centered surname has been fundamentally detrimental to women’s existence. It restricts a woman’s sexual freedom and choice, and thus affects her reproductive capabilities and initiation of family formation as well. This article conveys the very message that the lack of the maternal symbolic could be one of the most fundamental problems in feminist jurisprudence in Korea. Difficulties in developing an alternative surname system that protects both gender equality and ‘tradition’ suggest the unique tasks ahead for the feminist jurisprudence in Korea. 

<Keywords>

Surname system in Korea, civil law, maternal lineage, paternal lineage, motherhood, and fatherhood. CEDAW, Constitutional Court in Korea

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