Accepted paper:

Outsider/insider: being different in rural Japan


Barbara Holthus (University of Vienna)
Wolfram Manzenreiter (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Deviance from mainstream society is difficult to imagine in Japan's close-knit rural communities. Combining Goffman's theory of backstage-frontstage with ethnographic data from fieldwork in southwestern Japan, we demonstrate how individuals deal with the intricacies of communal life.

Paper long abstract:

From the outside, forms of deviance or "being different" from the mainstream local rural community are hardly visible in Japan. Yet ethnographic research in one small village in the prefecture of Kumamoto has shown several examples of outsiders, e.g. through a history of domestic violence, marrying a divorcee of the village, or though engaging in gender-untypical hobbies. By using Goffman's theory of backstage-frontstage, we gain better insights into everyday lives in rural Japan, and how the intricacies of a close-knit village community can be dealt with by individuals.

panel S1_13
Socioeconomic change in non-metropolitan Japan