Living on Your Own: Young Women and the Pursuit for Independence


Professor Jesook Song, Associate Professor of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate of the Centre for the Study of Korea at the University of Toronto, has published Living on Your Own (SUNY Press, 2014). Interweaving personal interviews, archival sources and media analyses, this illuminating ethnography profiles the stories of young, single women in South Korea who confront difficulties in their pursuits to live independently and achieve residential autonomy. Living on Your Own skillfully exposes the clash between women’s burgeoning desire for independence and traditional conservative norms in Korean housing practices and financial institutions. In particular, Professor Song focuses on the Korean housing rental system and the culture of reliance on lump-sum cash payment in the Korean society. The lives of these young women reflect the lives of global youth in crisis, caught between the aspirations for self-development and flexible lifestyle promoted by the global media and the reality of their lives as flexible labour in a neoliberal economy. For more information on the book and to purchase the book, please visit:

Song book cover