Talk: Anne Allison on “Greeting the Dead: Managing Solitary Existence in Japan”

November 19, 2014 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm America/Los Angeles Timezone
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)
Humanities and Social Sciences
University of California, Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, CA 93117
FREE! Open to the public.
Sabine Fruhstuck

Anne Allison


Anne Allison
Robert O. Keohane Professor of Cultural Anthropology & Professor of Women’s Studies
Duke University

About the talk

At a moment when the Japanese population is declining, marriage and birth rates are down, one-third of people live alone while one-fourth are 65 or older, and reports of “lonely death” (of solitary people whose bodies are discovered days, or weeks, after death) are commonplace, the social ecology of existence is undergoing radical change in 21st century Japan. While long-term bonds — to company, family, locale — were once the earmarks of this “group-oriented society,” today it is living, and dying, alone that marks Japan’s new era of “single-ification” and “disconnected society” [muen shakai). How the rise of single-ification affects the management of death – both those already dead as weLL as those at risk of dying in/from solitude – is the subject of this talk. Looking at new practices of burying/memorializing the dead, new trends in both single and solitary Lifestyles, and new initiatives in dealing with suicide, Allison considers how the neoliberal shift to “self-responsibility” plays out in the everyday rhythms of being with/out others for post-social Japanese.

About the Speaker

Anne Allison is the Robert O. Keohane Professor of Cultural Anthropology as well as Professor of Women’s Studies at Duke University. She researches the intersections between political economy, everyday Life, and the imagination in the context of late capitalist, post-industrial Japan.

Sponsored by the IHC’s Reinventing “Japan” RFG, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, the East Asia Center, the Center for Research on Women and Social Justice/Hull Chair, the Department of Anthropology, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.