Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan / Edition 1

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Overview

This highly original study provides an entirely new critical perspective on the central importance of ideas about language in the reproduction of gender, class, and race divisions in modern Japan. Focusing on a phenomenon commonly called "women's language," in modern Japanese society, Miyako
Inoue considers the history and social effects of this language form. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in a contemporary Tokyo corporation to study the everyday linguistic experience of white-collar females office workers and on historical research from the late nineteenth century to 1930, she calls into question the claim that "women's language" is a Japanese cultural tradition of ancient origin and offers a critical geneaology showing the extent to which this language form is, in fact, a cultural construct linked with Japan's national and capitalist modernity. Her theoretically sophisticated, empirically grounded, interdisciplinary work brilliantly illuminates the relationship between culture and language, the nature of power and subject formation in modernity, and how the complex nexus of gender, language, and political economy are experienced in everyday life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520245853
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2006
  • Series: Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Sales rank: 1,400,277
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Miyako
Inoue
is Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : women's language and capitalist modernity in Japan 1
1 An echo of national modernity : overhearing "schoolgirl speech" 37
2 Linguistic modernity and the emergence of women's language 75
3 From schoolgirl speech to women's language : consuming indexicality in women's magazines, 1890-1930 108
4 Capitalist modernity, the responsibilized speaking body, and the public mourning of the death of women's language 163
5 "Just stay in the middle" : the story of a woman manager 217
6 Defamiliarizing Japanese women's language : strategies and tactics of female office workers 252
Afterword : this vicarious "Japanese women's language" 278
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