This panel considers how individuals on the margins of Japanese institutions of work and education (including the ethnographic researchers themselves) deal with dominant social discourses and structures; and in particular, how this interacts with notions of body, affect and the self.
This panel considers how individuals on the margins of Japanese institutions of work and education (including the ethnographic researchers themselves) deal with dominant social discourses and structures under the conditions of precarity. Specifically, we consider three inter-related types of institutional space: the university, non-formal spaces of learning such as the communication workshop, and the office. While all are being affected by the precarity of labour and the entangled discourses of globalization, pyschologization and individualization, each of these institutional spaces has its own set of norms and ideals concerning bodily, affective states of being in relation to others (whether human or non-human). Individuals, including the ethnographic researchers themselves, are subjected to such contexts from moment to moment - physically, socially and emotionally, and navigate their roles reflexively. We pay attention to how these individuals interactively experience and shape the respective fields, whether through subversion, co-construction, resistance, or the creation of alternative spaces/identities. Through both discourse analysis and fieldwork, the papers in this panel will bring to light individuals situated in realms of work and education that are marginal, and are carrying ambivalent meanings and identities. Horiguchi and Teruyama discuss the contested discourses concerning 'communication skills' in relation to hattatsu shogai, Ho explores the experiences of women corporate managers placed under precarious conditions, Sato considers the experiences of university practitioners in liminal 'third spaces', and Imoto discusses transcultural university educators who bring non-objective, 'affective' teaching practices into the university classroom. By examining such spaces and individuals through a focus on affect and bodily senses, we aim for more subtle, complex and dynamic understandings of 'communication' as well as of 'work' and 'education' vis a vis 'Japanese culture'. Our panel aims for theoretical dialogue as well as the sharing of ethnographic perspectives and experiences. We aim to actively bring in 'Japanese' concepts as well as empirical data, to build on, and/or provide alternative perspectives to, the development of theories on affect, the senses and materiality in Anglophone anthropology and social sciences.