Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams

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Duke University Press, Nov 21, 2001 - Social Science - 294 pages
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Over the past few decades, many young Japanese women have emerged as Japan’s most enthusiastic “internationalists,” investing in study or work abroad, or in romance with Western men as opportunities to circumvent what they consider their country’s oppressive corporate and family structures. Drawing on a rich supply of autobiographical narratives, as well as literary and cultural texts, Karen Kelsky situates this phenomenon against a backdrop of profound social change in Japan and within an intricate network of larger global forces.
In exploring the promises, limitations, and contradictions of these “occidental longings,” Women on the Verge exposes the racial and erotic politics of transnational mobility. Kelsky shows how female cosmopolitanism recontextualizes the well-known Western male romance with the Orient: Japanese women are now the agents, narrating their own desires for the “modern” West in ways that seem to defy Japanese nationalism as well as long-standing relations of power not only between men and women but between Japan and the West. While transnational movement is not available to all Japanese women, Kelsky shows that the desire for the foreign permeates many Japanese women’s lives. She also reveals how this feminine allegiance to the West—and particularly to white men—can impose its own unanticipated hegemonies of race, sexuality, and capital.
Combining ethnography and literary analysis, and bridging anthropology and cultural studies, Women on the Verge will also appeal to students and scholars of Japan studies, feminism, and global culture.

  

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Review: Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams

User Review  - Roslyn - Goodreads

An interesting examination of Japanese women's desire for the West, and Western men. Read full review

Contents

The Promised Land A Genealogy of Female Internationalism
35
Internationalism as Resistance
85
Capital and the Fetish of the White Man
133
ReFlexibility in Inflexible Places
202
Strange Bedfellows
227
Notes
249
Bibliography
259
Index
283
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Page 12 - Flexible citizenship" refers to the cultural logics of capitalist accumulation, travel, and displacement that induce subjects to respond fluidly and opportunistically to changing political-economic conditions.
Page 24 - Perhaps instead of thinking of identity as an already accomplished fact, which the new cultural practices then represent, we should think, instead, of identity as a 'production' which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation.
Page 13 - In the last two decades, as the deterritorialization of persons, images, and ideas has taken on new force . . . more persons throughout the world see their lives through the prisms of the possible lives offered by mass media in all their forms. That is, fantasy is now a social practice. It enters, in a host of ways, into the fabrication of social lives for many people in many societies.
Page 260 - The Foreign Devil Returns: Packaging Sexual Practice and Risk in Contemporary Japan...
Page 12 - I use the term flexible citizenship to refer especially to the strategies and effects of mobile managers, technocrats, and professionals seeking to both circumvent and benefit from different nation-state regimes by selecting different sites for investments, work, and family relocation.

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About the author (2001)

Karen Kelsky is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oregon.

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