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Gendered disorder(s): 'rubbish houses' and 'women who cannot tidy up' in contemporary Japan

Gygi, F.R.; (2010) Gendered disorder(s): 'rubbish houses' and 'women who cannot tidy up' in contemporary Japan. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the moment relationships between persons and things become problematic and with the reasons for and the effects of such a development. More specifically, it looks ethnographically at how disorder and extreme accumulations of things are understood in the context of contemporary urban Japan. 'Extreme accumulation' refers to an amassing of things that is perceived by a majority as being of little or no value to a degree that by the same majority is considered 'excessive'. Broadly speaking, the hypothesis is that what is in the process of being codified in America as a mental disorder called 'compulsive hoarding', is materialized in Japan in two different forms depending on the context they occur in: the phenomenon called gomiyashiki (literally 'rubbish houses') and katazukerarenai onna (literally 'women who cannot tidy up'). The reason for such a bifurcation lies in the way 'social pathologies' are understood in Japan as the failing of social networks in which persons and things are embedded in the former case, and as gendered deviance from standard biographical life courses in the latter. What is shared transpacifically, however, is the erasure of materiality: in all cases matter is merely a symptom of something different, either mental or social. Informed by actor-network theory, the ethnographic approach developed here aims to redress this lack of theorizing materiality and to provide a more nuanced account of 'doing things' and of 'what things do' in the case of material, mental and cosmological disorder. Understanding the role that the mundane things of mass consumption play in the creation and maintenance of different scales of order necessitates a rethinking of often taken for granted notions in material culture such as 'memory', 'meaning' and 'order' itself.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Gendered disorder(s): 'rubbish houses' and 'women who cannot tidy up' in contemporary Japan
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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