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∙ Current position: Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki
∙ Ph.D. dissertation Neighborhood Shopkeepers in Contemporary South Korea: Household, Work, and Locality available online (E-Thesis publications a the University of Helsinki). For printed copies, please contact me by e-mail.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

(Small businesses) Paedal kyôre, or Delivery nation

Been lately writing about the division of labor in small businesses; especially in restaurants, the one quite fundamental is that between the cooking done by the woman and the delivery done by the man, if the place is kept by a couple. Of course this division is not absolute, but pretty consistent.
When there is the image of a young woman driving a scooter on a coffee delivery, with a chance that there's prostitution included, it's no wonder that being the deliverer is not the desired role for women. (We anthros like to explain things in the harder way, not to say simply that men deliver meals because they are physically stronger.)

My own counterargument goes that there are all kinds of delivery women working in neighborhood environments, like yogurt ajummas, who go from place to place in the manner I tried to explain as "inappropriate for women" above. But here we have an occupation which is clearly defined as belonging to women. (But so is "coffee delivery".)
This man, "restaurant bachelor" as he was called by some neighborhood women, was (and surely still is) one the most prolific deliverers in the area.

Taking a chokpal (pork hock?) delivery order.

Delivering is the lifeline of Mr Pak's ttôk bakery, as he brings all the orders to the customers by motorbike.

Going to Gumi near Daegu, where an acquaintance of mine had moved from Seoul, was quite... interesting. As it is an industrial town, thanks to the home boy Park Chung-hee, there's a lot of mainly male industrial work force and subsequently a lot of "entertainment industry" catering for them, as my friend explained. So the most common delivery sight was not a man bringing meals to customers but young women bringing coffee and stuff to customers.

My acquaintance at time of his restaurant-keeping, who left eating business for greener pastures in bigger money games; I learned his businesses went all bust, and now I can't reach him in any way - not surprising if he's gone hiding from his creditors.

Couple of pieces worth reading from the "People of the night" (or something) series of articles in Ohmynews
"Milk delivery ajumma"
Meal delivery woman in the Tongdaemun market

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