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Accepted Paper:

"The air of shaba": Welfare as confinement for older ex-offenders in Japan  
Jason Danely (Oxford Brookes University)

Paper short abstract:

In Japan, older ex-offenders have the highest recidivism rates of any age cohort.This paper describes the forms of confinement and care experienced by ex-offenders who engage with both welfare bodies and their own aging bodies beyond the walls of prison.

Paper long abstract:

Japanese ex-offenders often refer to the world beyond the walls of prison as "shaba", a term originating in Buddhist moral cosmology referring to a life where freedom is precarious, still bound to suffering and karmic consequences. Shaba means a different kind of confinement, where various forms of social exclusion and the embodied habits of prison life foreclose on potentials to find new ways of being-in-the-world beyond the carceral. While crime rates in Japan are at currently at a historic low, recidivism rates are higher than they have ever been, and those over 65 reoffend more often than any other age cohort. This paper draws on fieldwork with older ex-offenders unable to 'rehabilitate' through normative temporal and spatial orders (i.e. family, legal work, peer groups). While each ex-offender had unique challenges, age, poverty and social disconnection ran throughout each story, confining older ex-offenders to future-less narratives, of worry and restlessness. This paper describes the lifeworlds of these ex-offenders living in the shadow of the carceral condition, a world that makes it easy, sometimes even desirable to slip back behind bars. As the offender population ages, the blurred borders between care and the carceral are manifested in a rhythm of reoffending and release rather than reintegration, with social deficits beyond the walls reflecting the harsh order of the world as shaba even as the prison becomes more familiar and home-like. A focus on older, frail and disabled offenders offers new potential to trouble notions of care, welfare, and confinement.

Panel P111
Towards a comparative anthropology of care [PechaKucha/Lightning Talks] [Age and Generations network]
  Session 1 Friday 24 July, 2020, -