In an era of irregular labor, nagging recession, nuclear contamination, and a shrinking population, Japan is facing precarious times. How the Japanese experience insecurity in their daily and social lives is the subject of Precarious Japan. Tacking between the structural conditions of socioeconomic life and the ways people are making do, or not, Anne Allison chronicles the loss of home affecting many Japanese, not only in the literal sense but also in the figurative sense of not belonging. Until the collapse of Japan's economic bubble in 1991, lifelong employment and a secure income were within reach of most Japanese men, enabling them to maintain their families in a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Now, as fewer and fewer people are able to find full-time work, hope turns to hopelessness and security gives way to a pervasive unease. Yet some Japanese are getting by, partly by reconceiving notions of home, family, and togetherness.
©2013 Duke University Press (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks
"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." (Japan Times)
"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." (Kathleen Stewart, author of Ordinary Affects)
An interesting, well-researched book, albeit incredibly glum. The reader's pronunciation of Japanese words is butchered...even words I was familiar with were hard to recognize, especially when sped up to 1.5x or 2x, so I could have gotten more out of it by reading instead.
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