Who are the Real Insiders? Ambivalent Dynamics between a Korean Man and Immigrant Labourers in 'He’s on Duty'


This article explores the possibilities and the limits of immigrant workers’ struggle for coexistence by analysing the ambivalent representation of migrant workers in the Korean film, He’s on Duty (2010), about Taesik Bang, a Korean man who pretends to be an illegal worker from Bhutan to get a job. While many media representations of immigrant labourers reinforce stereotypical concepts of them, this film captures the dynamics between the domestic poor and the migrant labour force with more complexity than previously displayed. The article shows how the film asks the audience to redefine Korean identity and multicultural society by focusing on the struggles of the Korean protagonist as well as immigrant labourers.


He’s on Duty, Banga? Banga!; immigrant labour; representation; globalisation; sub-empire, performative identity; multiculturalism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/csr.v23i1.5500