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Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan (Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes)

Vicarious Language: Gender and Linguistic Modernity in Japan (Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes)
Author: Miyako Inoue
ISBN 13: 9780520245853
ISBN 10: 520245857
Edition: N/A
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2006-04-05
Format: Paperback
Pages: 340
List Price: $34.95

Inoue has accomplished an extraordinary task, which is without precedent in the East Asian Fields. To my knowledge, no author has ever demonstrated as persuasively as she does that the issues concerning women's Japanese can be explored in such an innovative, engaging way. Vicarious Language brilliantly displays how effectively Foucauldian archaeology can be introduced to the study of gender and language, and undermines any of the previous studies in English of what is erroneously referred to as the unique feature of the Japanese language. This is a superb model of engaged scholarship."—Naoki Sakai, author of Voices of the Past: The Status of Language in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Discourse

Inoue's Vicarious Language is a work of scholarly distinction and cultural insight. She explores the texture of Japanese modernity, its national rituals and social practices, by way of a sustained, semiotic analysis of womens' language—the language of self-expression that women use in intimate and institutional contexts, and the language used to define the gendered roles assigned to women within the powers of patriarchy. Her sources range widely from scholarly studies to the 'popular opinion' fostered by newspapers and advertisements; her excellent ethnography investigates the strategies of institutions and organisations, while inquiring into the politics and poetics of everyday life; her analytic method is, at once, conceptually sophisticated and textually intensive. This is a work that allows you to participate in the lifeworld of the Japanese language, at the illuminating moment when gender relations are writ large in the social syntax of national life. This is a book that will make a lasting impression on a range of disciplines."—Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F.Rothenberg Professor, Harvard University