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Precarious Japan (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 22. November 2013

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""Precarious Japan" is a forward-thinking commentary on the current state of Japan, detailing a progressive history from the economic collapse in 1991 to how the country functions today in a modern, post-earthquake society. . . . For those wondering just how precarious Japan's future really is, this book is a good place to start."--Jordan Sievers ""Japan Times" "

""Precarious Japan" is a compelling collection of examples and theories that connect overwhelming or shocking social problems in contemporary Japan with the realm of labor. . . . Although many of the examples are emotionally difficult to read, I am sure they will be very hard to forget."--Allison Alexy ""Anthropological Quarterly" "

""Precarious Japan "is a harrowing read. Mummified corpses, the homeless housed in stacks of coffin-sized boxes, rivers of radioactive mud, and other horrific scenes capture the contraction of existence in contemporary Japan as the history of the "sarariman" (salaryman) gives way to a stagnant neoliberal future. While Anne Allison seeks to tell the story of a nation for whom hope looks backwards, readers will wonder whether they are also seeing the blueprint for a global condition emerging at the edge of the rising sun."--Elizabeth A. Povinelli, author of "Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism"

""Precarious Japan" is a model of new modes of conceptualizing sociocultural theory. Here the theory is sober, mature, aspirational, hopeful, gracious. It pushes up against the limits of thinking categorically, of thinking that lived phenomena simply, magically, derive their force from the categorical from identities, borders, inclusions and exclusions, ideals writ large. It will be important to scholars trying to get a better handle on what is going on in the historical present."--Kathleen Stewart, author of "Ordinary Affects""

"Precarious Japan" is a forward-thinking commentary on the current state of Japan, detailing a progressive history from the economic collapse in 1991 to how the country functions today in a modern, post-earthquake society. . . . For those wondering just how precarious Japan s future really is, this book is a good place to start. --Jordan Sievers ""Japan Times" ""

The only reason that I didn't burst into tears while reading this book is because of extreme self-control. --Eustacia Tan ""With Love from Japan" blog ""

"Allison s book is an impressive tour through important public discourses in Japan today, rooted in extensive discussion of contemporary popular literature and media."--Kathryn E. Goldfarb""Somatosphere"" (05/29/2014)"

[A]n important, thoughtful, and moving ethnography that deserves the attention of a wide audience. --Carla Nappi ""New Books in East Asian Studies" ""

"Precarious Japan" is a compelling collection of examples and theories that connect overwhelming or shocking social problems in contemporary Japan with the realm of labor. . . . Although many of the examples are emotionally difficult to read, I am sure they will be very hard to forget. --Allison Alexy ""Anthropological Quarterly" ""

Allison s book announces a paradigm change. . . . The book is a valuable provocation. . . . "Precarious Japan" is a valuable incitement to imagine new narratives for Japan s present and future and to locate Japan s experience in the context of global precarity. . . . --Amy Borovoy ""American Ethnologist" ""

"Allison s ethnography of contemporary Japan, framed in terms of instability, poverty, hope, mud and the desire for belonging, is a compelling and timely work."--Laura Dales ""Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology" ""

"Precarious Japan" has implications far beyond Japan not only because similar problems exist in other market-dominated countries but also because she draws on the relevant theoretical literature to analyze Japan from a broader perspective. The breadth and depth of Allison s scholarship and her insight into Japanese culture are impressive. I highly recommend "Precarious Japan" for those interested in contemporary societies, especially Japan. It is also a good textbook for social sciences and humanities courses, inspiring students and generating fruitful discussions. --Yohko Tsuji ""American Anthropologist" ""

[A]n impressive ethnographic study of exclusion, precariousness and struggle that will leave no reader untouched. . . . Allison s new book will surely be highly impressive for many readers and a good resource for discussions in courses on contemporary Japan. --David Chiavacci ""Pacific Affairs" ""

"Anne Allison's moving and perceptive account of precarious existence in contemporary Japan cuts through the sheen of a society's self-image to reveal an everyday weighted down by scarcity and a temporality dedicated to the daily struggle to stay alive. Where there was supposed to be permanent abundance and the well-being of all, is now a ruined landscape, vacated by hope, a constituency compromising globalization's version of the 'wretched of the earth, ' who have appeared in Japan and everywhere the new global order has established its austere regime of insecurity and desperation. Allison's stunningly thoughtful elucidation of the growing numbers of the homeless, hungry and the socially withdrawn will take its place with all those ethnographies that have courageously sought to capture the precarity of broken lives within our midst to make us see what continues to defy our capacity to confront, which is the mirror of our collective future."--Harry Harootunian, coauthor of "Japan After Japan: Social and Cultural Life from the Recessionary 1990s to the Present "

"Precarious Japan is a harrowing read. Mummified corpses, the homeless housed in stacks of coffin-sized boxes, rivers of radioactive mud, and other horrific scenes capture the contraction of existence in contemporary Japan as the history of the sarariman (salaryman) gives way to a stagnant neoliberal future. While Anne Allison seeks to tell the story of a nation for whom hope looks backwards, readers will wonder whether they are also seeing the blueprint for a global condition emerging at the edge of the rising sun."--Elizabeth A. Povinelli, author of "Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism "

"Precarious Japan is a model of new modes of conceptualizing sociocultural theory. Here the theory is sober, mature, aspirational, hopeful, gracious. It pushes up against the limits of thinking categorically, of thinking that lived phenomena simply, magically, derive their force from the categorical--from identities, borders, inclusions and exclusions, ideals writ large. It will be important to scholars trying to get a better handle on what is going on in the historical present."--Kathleen Stewart, author of "Ordinary Affects "

"Precarious Japan is a forward-thinking commentary on the current state of Japan, detailing a progressive history from the economic collapse in 1991 to how the country functions today in a modern, post-earthquake society. . . . For those wondering just how precarious Japan's future really is, this book is a good place to start."--Jordan Sievers "Japan Times "

"The only reason that I didn't burst into tears while reading this book is because of extreme self-control."--Eustacia Tan "With Love from Japan blog "

"Allison's book is an impressive tour through important public discourses in Japan today, rooted in extensive discussion of contemporary popular literature and media." --Kathryn E. Goldfarb"Somatosphere" (05/29/2014)

"[A]n important, thoughtful, and moving ethnography that deserves the attention of a wide audience."--Carla Nappi "New Books in East Asian Studies "

" . . . Allison's work reminds us of why ethnographic work is important. She skillfully weaves recent theories of the 'precarious' between personal accounts, interviews, statistics and textual analyses, making Precarious Japan as much an exemplar of the ethnographic methodology as an account of the vicissitudes of life in post-bubble, post-crisis and post-Fukushima Japan."--Jamie Coates "Social Anthropology "

"Precarious Japan is a compelling collection of examples and theories that connect overwhelming or shocking social problems in contemporary Japan with the realm of labor. . . . Although many of the examples are emotionally difficult to read, I am sure they will be very hard to forget."--Allison Alexy "Anthropological Quarterly "

"Allison's book announces a paradigm change. . . . The book is a valuable provocation. . . . Precarious Japan is a valuable incitement to imagine new narratives for Japan's present and future--and to locate Japan's experience in the context of global precarity. . . ."--Amy Borovoy "American Ethnologist "

"Allison's ethnography of contemporary Japan, framed in terms of instability, poverty, hope, mud and the desire for belonging, is a compelling and timely work."--Laura Dales "Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology "

"Precarious Japan has implications far beyond Japan not only because similar problems exist in other market-dominated countries but also because she draws on the relevant theoretical literature to analyze Japan from a broader perspective. The breadth and depth of Allison's scholarship--and her insight into Japanese culture--are impressive. ... I highly recommend Precarious Japan for those interested in contemporary societies, especially Japan. It is also a good textbook for social sciences and humanities courses, inspiring students and generating fruitful discussions."--Yohko Tsuji "American Anthropologist "

"[A]n impressive ethnographic study of exclusion, precariousness and struggle that will leave no reader untouched. . . . Allison's new book will surely be highly impressive for many readers and a good resource for discussions in courses on contemporary Japan."--David Chiavacci "Pacific Affairs "

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Anne Allison is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. She is the author of Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination; Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan; and Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club and a coeditor of the journal Cultural Anthropology.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen 6 Rezensionen
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen One of my favorite books about modern Japan 30. Juli 2016
Von Gromer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
One of my favorite books about modern Japan. I own Anne Allison's other titles as well. She's an academic but writes well for the lay reader. Straight up no-nonsense look at the real Japan. It is very rare to find this type of insight and substance in the English language.

To properly appreciate the Allison niche, consider: English-language writing about Japan falls into a few horrible camps: (a) insubstantial "Monocle magazine"-type coverage about bright and shiny Japan; (b) young-at-heart otaku gushing about the holy trinity of ninja, geisha, samurai; (c) postwar male travelers who write with misty-eyed nostalgia about the Japan they knew that no longer exists; (d) professors with specialist books that have a mausoleum feel. Oh, let me not forget (e), the American expatriate who just happens to be in Japan, who is NOT a writer, but because of his (usually it is a he) unique position of being there (usually through acquisition, however briefly, of a Japanese girlfriend or wife), thinks he can write books about Japan that are just poorly-written and unreadable.

So, to really see Japan properly, you have to turn to academics who know how to pitch their books to the lay reader, like Ms. Allison. Get her books if you travel to Japan often and want to understand it better. Beautiful paperback edition and cover design, too.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen War, Grief, Mud 6. Juni 2015
Von Etienne RP - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
If we include Japanese sources, there is such an extensive literature on Japan’s economy and society that the bilingual observer is often at a loss. She can make this literature accessible to non-Japanese readers—by translating, summarizing, contextualizing. Or she can collect her own primary data—especially in the field of ethnography, where the main insights are supposed to originate from fieldwork. Anne Allison's book does both, but in an unsatisfactory manner. Its topic—precarity and precariousness—doesn't lend itself easily to fieldwork. How do you observe a feeling, a mood, a sentiment, or a lack thereof? How do you assess the way—as Allison defines her topic— "relations with others—of care, belonging, recognition—are showing strain but also, in a few instances, getting reimagined and restitched in innovative new ways"? Having had limited time to conduct fieldwork, Allison had to rely on other people's observations: activists, commentators, social workers, or critics. But she fails to give proper credit to these domestic observers of precariousness—and in particular to build a theory informed by local categories and debates. Instead, she imports the latest fads in social critique and peppers them with Japanese terms to add local flavor, without engaging Japanese thought seriously.

How do you observe precariousness? The answer, for anyone living in Japan, is pretty straightforward: open a newspaper, and you will read many accounts of life at the edge. The "shakai" (society) section of newspapers is full of reports on precarious employment (dispatch, contract, day labor), on elderly people living and dying alone (kodokushi), on young people withdrawing from society (hikikomori), on poverty gnawing at the life of the most vulnerable: single mothers, school dropouts, foreign workers, social outcasts, laid-out salarymen, etc. "Life, tenuous and raw, disconnected from others and surviving or dying alone: such stories cycle through the news these days," remarks the author. Next to the serious reporting on social ills come the sensationalized news items making headlines: "mothers beheaded, strangers killed, children abandoned, adults starved." Japan is the country where social pathologies bear indigenous names: "otaku" live in a fantasy world of anime characters and online chatrooms; "hikikomori" retreat in the private space of their room, withdrawing from school or workplace and avoiding social contact; "netto kafe nanmin" are mainly flexible or irregular workers who, with unsteady paychecks and no job security, are unable to afford more permanent housing and dwell in PC cafes for a low fee.

Likewise, there is not a lack of social commentary, of people analyzing these trends to draw general lessons or recommendations for Japan's future. According to observers, "Japan is becoming an impoverished country, a society where hope has turned scarce and the future has become bleak or inconceivable altogether." Precarity not only affects labor conditions but life as well: it is "a state where one's human condition has become precarious as well." There is a rich vocabulary that describes the difficulties of life (ikizurasa) in contemporary Japan: the insecurity (fuan, fuantei), dissatisfaction (fuman), the lack of a place or space where one feels comfortable and "at home" (ibasho ga nai), the connections (tsunagari) and sense of belonging disappearing from society (muen shakai), the poverty of human relations (ningenkankei no hinkon), the withering of social links (kizuna), the incapacity to achieve an "ordinary lifestyle" (hitonami no seikatsu), the absence of hope (kibô ga nai), the despair (zetsubô). For the Japanese, these terms are highly evocative, and together they paint a bleak picture of a society that has lost its balance. For non-Japanese speakers, the Japanese words add a new repertoire of social conditions that may help put their own society into perspective.

Anne Allison uses several metaphors to describe the current state of Japan under precarity. The first is a bellicose one, a paradox in a country that has banned war in its constitution. Japan is a society at war with itself. More specifically, the country is at war with its own youths, sacrificing them as refugees. According to human rights activists, it is a war that the state is waging by endangering and not fulfilling its commitment to the people—that of ensuring a "healthy and culturally basic existence" that all citizens are entitled to under Article 25 of the Constitution. When the outside world is seen as a war zone, people take refuge at home or in an imaginary world. In 2007, the monthly magazine Ronza published an essay titled "Kibô wa sensô" (Hope is War), in which a young part-time worker described all the humiliations his generation had to endure and concluded by placing his hope in a nationalist war that would restore his sense of masculine dignity and pride. Nobody really advocates war and the return to militarism in Japan; but nationalism is clearly on the rise, and right-wing extremism has found in Internet forums and discussion channels a new venue to vent its regressive agenda. Social scientists describe this reaction as paranoid nationalism: "when, feeling excluded from nation or community, one attempts, sometimes violently, to exclude others as well." The most extreme form of this self-destructing drive is given in the random murder incidents by demented youths who kill passersby as a form of protest.

The second metaphor that runs through the text is the idea of grief and mourning. Here the author draws from Judith Butler, the famous feminist scholar who, drawing herself from Jacques Derrida, has written about the grievability of all life and lives. As Butler writes, "there can be no recognition of a person's life without an implicit understanding that the life is grievable, that it would be grieved if it were lost, and that this future anterior is installed as the condition of its life." Without grievability, there is no life or, rather, there is something living that is other than life. But not all lives are equally grievable: when people live and die alone, nobody is there to register their death (as in the case of the "missing centenarians", who were found to be deceased and unreported by their families who kept the pension payments for themselves.) What counts and who counts as having a grievable life is increasingly dependent on economic calculation and state action. It is the prerogative of the modern state to "make live and let die" (Foucault), and never is this new biopolitical landscape more apparent than in the neoliberal injunction to pursue self-reliance, self-independence, and self-responsibility (jikô sekinin) as a positive agenda.

The third metaphor that creeps in the last chapter is the invasion of mud. The author was knee-deep in it when she volunteered to clean ditches in Ishinomaki after the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tôhoku region on March 11th, 2011. As Allison aptly describes it, "the tsunami rendered the entire northeast coastline a cesspool of waste: dead remains and dying life entwined—animals, humans, boats, cars, oil, hours, vegetation, and belongings." Cleaning up the mess was devoted to the Self-Defense Forces—whose members in uniform had never been so conspicuous in Japanese society—, assisted by the US Armed Forces engaged in Operation Tomodachi and other, smaller contingents dispatched by friendly nations. Then a slew of NGOs, volunteers, and private cleanup operations (many of them employing precariat workers) took on the job in a great upsurge of solidarity. Cleaning the mud from homes and ditches, sweeping it from photographs and personal belongings, is described by the author as an exhilarating experience, a kind of return to a primal scene where social barriers disappear and a new sense of community emerges. This regression to an infantile stage of scatological pleasure is also a move away from the political. The author recognizes it herself: "while tremendously moving, the work we do moves little in fact." But the important thing is "being there": "stress is placed on the immediacy of the action and on the ethics of care." Riding a bus to Ishinomaki, an NGO team leader wondered why people made street protests against the government's nuclear policy: "why not come here and shovel mud instead?"

But there is a politics in shoveling mud, grieving lives, and opposing social warfare. Anne Allison never discusses her adherence to a progressive agenda broadly aligned with the Japanese left. The media she relies on (the Asahi newspaper, mostly), the intellectuals she quotes, the social activists she associates with, and the activities she participates in, are all identified with a segment of Japanese politics. Like it or not, this segment has been on the decline in Japan for the last two decades at least. The moment Allison did her fieldwork, which corresponded to the time politicians from the Democratic Party of Japan were in power, was only a parenthesis in an era dominated by the conservative Liberal-Democratic Party. Japanese conservatives of various stripes have themselves offered comments and remedies about the rise of precariousness and exclusion in contemporary Japan. These views fill the pages of right-wing magazines such as Shokun!, Seiron, Voice, or WiLL. Reflecting these views, which also find echoes among members of the precariat (remember the Ronza article praising war as a solution to poverty), would have provided ethnographic value: we don't need to be reminded about what people like us think. It would also have helped us understand the future: as mentioned, these people are winning the day in contemporary Japan.

Indeed, the range of sources Allison uses and the scope of her fieldwork appear limited. Although the book claims to be based on participant observation, one has to wait until page 124 to begin to see real ethnographic work. And fieldwork is mostly limited to on-site interviews with well-known social activists: Yuasa Makoto, one of the leading figures advocating rights for precarious workers, dispatch workers, the homeless, and working poor; Amamiya Karin, a former suicidal freeter and author in her mid-thirties who dresses in goth; Genda Yûji, the founder of "hope studies" (kibôgaku) at Tokyo University; Tsukino Kôji, a performer and founder of Kowaremono, a music band where each member self-identifies as having a handicap; etc. The Japanese books that are quoted—and there are quite a few in the bibliography—are only scanned in a superficial way, and there are no close readings of key texts that would have given a conceptual framework to the topic at hand. Indeed, it is significant that when Allison needs theoretical references, she turns to English sources and authors like Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, Michel Foucault, etc. There is a division of labor by which Japanese sources provide first-hand observation and commentary, but the real concept work—the theory of the theory—is done by Western authors. Allison quotes in passing a few Japanese philosophers who have tried to address issues of social justice and identity politics in innovative ways: Azuma Hiroshi, Asada Akira, Kayano Toshihito, and others. She could have relied more on them to provide a locally-grounded, theoretically relevant and ethnographically innovative account of the rise of precariousness in Japan.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well-written, thoroughly researched alternative view of Japan 5. April 2015
Von Kundry - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Fascinating information about Japanese society that most people in the West would not know! How are people coping with the damage from the tsunami and the subsequent radiation released by the damaged reactor? Is the formerly dependable, predictable organization of the family and the word of the salaryman holding together under new, unexpected pressures? You will find out if you read PRECARIOUS JAPAN.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good read 15. Dezember 2014
Von I.G. - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This was a good read on Japanese culture and society's current problems. Well written and captivating subject matter, definitely worth looking into.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Five Stars 3. Mai 2015
Von Sajed and Rosie Kamal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Thanks.
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