December 11, 2009

Professor Allison Alexy Explores Japanese Social Change in New Book

Home and Family in Japan will be published in May 2010

By Meghan Cloonan ’10

In her upcoming book, Allison Alexy, assistant professor of anthropology and sociology, examines how Japanese homes and families have contributed to the country’s recent social change.

Home and Family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation is a compilation of essays that she co-edited with Richard Ronald, a research fellow at the OTB Institute for Housing, Urban, and Mobility Studies at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands. Alexy also wrote a chapter. The book will be released in May 2010 by Routledge.

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of the Japanese home and family, identifying significant features that have a wider importance for understanding recent developments in Japanese society. The chapter contributors include social anthropologists and other social scientists from Japan, Europe, and North America who research and publish internationally on family and housing issues in Japan. Essays address intergenerational relationships, the role of masculinity in the “ie” (household) system, and the reorganization of dwelling spaces and multi-generational households.

Alexy and her co-editor use the epilogue to unite themes of family organization and gender roles in a broader social context, as they relate to change and continuity in modern Japan. While Alexy published Home and Family in Japan with an undergraduate audience in mind, she believes postgraduate students, academics, researchers, and any other professionals concerned with housing, family, and social issues would find the work valuable.

Alexy plans to use sections of the book in her spring course Gender in Contemporary Japan.

Along with the anthropology of Japan and East Asian studies, Alexy’s research interests include the anthropology of marriage and divorce, family lives and family change, and romance and romantic failures. She is working on a book manuscript tentatively titled “Intimate Separations: Divorce and its reverberations in contemporary Japan” along with a newer research project concerning the intersection of intimacy and citizenship in international relationships. Alexy is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships including a Fulbright Fellowship and Yale University’s Richard U. Light Fellowship.

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