Placing the Dead in Times of Solitarization in Japan

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Thursday, October 16th, 2014

DateTimeLocation
Thursday, October 16, 20141:00PM - 3:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
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Series

Reimagining the Asia Pacific

Description

At a moment when the population is declining, marriage and birth rates are down, one-third of people live alone while one-fourth are 65 or older, and cases of “lonely death” (of solitary people whose bodies are discovered days, or weeks, after death) are reported daily, the social ecology of existence is undergoing radical change in 21st century Japan. While long-term bonds—to company, family, locale—were once the earmarks of its “group-oriented society,” today it is living, and dying, alone that marks Japan’s new era of “single-ification” and “disconnected society” (muen shakai). How the rise of single-ification affects the management of death—both those already dead as well as those at risk of dying in/from solitude—is the subject of this talk. Looking at new practices of burying/memorializing the dead, new trends in both single and solitary lifestyles, and the case of a Buddhist priest working to keep alive those contemplating self-death (suicide), Allison considers how the neoliberal shift to “self-responsibility” plays out in the everyday rhythms of being with/out others for post-social Japanese.

Anne Allison is a Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Duke University. A specialist in contemporary Japan, she studies the interface between material conditions and desire/fantasy/imagination across various domains including corporate capitalism, global popular culture, and precarity. Allison is the author of Nightwork: Sexuality, Pleasure, and Corporate Masculinity in a Tokyo Hostess Club (1994), Permitted and Prohibited Desires: Mothers, Comics, and Censorship in Japan (1996), Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination (2006), and Precarious Japan (2013).

Contact

Eileen Lam
416-946-8997


Speakers

Anne Allison
Professor, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University


Main Sponsor

Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies

Co-Sponsors

Asian Institute

Japan Studies Association of Canada


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