American Sociological Association

Manhattan's Koreatown as a Transclave: The Emergence of a New Ethnic Enclave in a Global City

This article critically challenges scholarship on ethnic enclaves, from Chicago School scholars to the ethnic enclave debates of the 1980s and 1990s, and introduces a new type of ethnic enclave in an era of globalization: the “transclave.” By using Manhattan's Koreatown as a case study, I define transclave as a commercialized ethnic space that exists exclusively for consumption, leisure, and entertainment, differentiating itself from traditional ethnic enclaves that offer housing and jobs for newer immigrants. Instead, transclaves are spaces where transnational consumer culture and brands from sending nations are transferred to, negotiated with, and anchored in a geographic space in a global city, and shape the landscape of that space. Based on archival research, in‐depth interviews, and participant observation, this article investigates how and why Koreatown serves as an intersection of where Korea's political, economic, and sociocultural influences meet New York City's diverse cosmopolitan mosaic and tourism industry.


Jinwon Kim





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