21st Century Bricoleurs: Remaking Rural Japan
Durayappah-Harrison, Peter Max
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CitationDurayappah-Harrison, Peter Max. 2021. 21st Century Bricoleurs: Remaking Rural Japan. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractIsumi lacks the trappings that are often associated with ‘a city’. No high-rises adorn its skyline, no central business district hums 24/7 with energy generated by foot traffic and commerce, and no cultural hub serves as a common ground for discourse among locals and visitors. What it possesses—be it a library, a public hall, a government office…—it often possesses in threes. For, just a few years ago, Isumi was not a city, but rather three towns, towns that were themselves made up of many yet smaller settlements consolidated over the preceding decades. Despite this diffuse and disparate disposition, the people of Isumi are united in an ongoing process, the reimaging of the area post-gappei (municipal merger) and its transformation into a quasi-bedroom community for those wishing to maintain one foot in the metropole of Tokyo, and another in the rural periphery of contemporary Japan. For locals and newcomers alike, this process, while implying integration and linkage, also connotes a collision of history, economy and culture that necessitates a (re)imagining of community.
Conducted over two years spent working alongside local, non-profit organizations whose stated mission was the fostering of ‘community’, the research upon which this study is based illustrates cases in which urban to rural migration has prompted bidirectional experiences of marginalization and integration. In an effort to reshape experience in a manner that serves both personal and communal goals, participation in local social movements tasked with ‘revitalizing community’ has grown and become a key factor in determining this rural city’s bricolage community identity and future.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37370082
- FAS Theses and Dissertations