Organized Panel Session
Conflicts between family members can present problems not associated with other types of disputes. In South Korea and Japan, as in other cultures, some people hold a strong belief that family disputes should not be brought into the formal legal system, and that such conflicts should instead stay in the private sphere. By this logic, "good" families are able to solve any conflicts by themselves. When police refuse to acknowledge domestic violence as a crime, or court officials belittle family fights brought into the legal system, these tensions surrounding family conflicts are further reinforced.
In this panel, focusing on contemporary South Korea and Japan, we examine contemporary family conflicts to trace the formal and informal mechanisms used to create solutions. From debates about the risks and benefits of joint custody after divorce, to inheritance disputes, and parental abductions of children, family conflicts highlight personal, familial, and social values under contestation. Focusing on parental activists, affected children, counselors, and legal officials, we question present institutional structures and social conventions that have long determined normative parenting and care. Tracing debates about what makes families strong, and supportive of the people within them, this panel aims to facilitate discussions about the transformation of legal, familial, and social spheres as people work to address conflict.