SEMINAR: Asian Studies Seminar Series
|Asian Studies Seminar Series : Friends, colleagues and lovers: Japanese women’s intimate relationships outside marriage
The average age of first marriage in Japan has steadily increased over the last century, as has the likelihood of never marrying for both women and men. In conjunction with the decline in average length of marriage – a result of greater divorce and later marriage – these patterns suggest that Japanese people are spending more of their lives outside marriage.
In the context of these demographic shifts, friendships, romantic relationships outside marriage, and work relationships represent possible support structures in a period of economic uncertainty. And what of the emotional benefits of extra-familial relationships? What do these relationships offer women, when marriage is no longer inevitable or enduring?
Feminist literature in other societies suggests that relationships outside the nuclear reproductive family may constitute a “set of counter-heteronormative relationship practices...in which sexual/love relationships are decentred, and friendship is prioritized” (Roseneil 2010: 79-80). Does this suggestion also hold in the Japanese context?
In this paper I use recent fieldwork to explore the affective and practical implications of intimate relationships outside the family for women. In particular, I examine the ways that extra-familial relationships of intimacy support or challenge the reproductive family, and the meaning attributed to these relationships by Japanese women.
Assistant Professor Laura Dales
Seminar room G.25, Social Sciences North.
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 14:30
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:00
Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:35
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