“My Body Doesn’t Hinder Me, So I’m Satisfied”: Enacting Japanese Lives through Lingual Life Histories

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Drawing on narratives collected from two married individuals, I examine how a Japanese woman (Kikue) and her husband (Tōru) recast their life histories from two perspectives: changes in eating patterns and body satisfaction. Their narratives discursively construct them as particular kinds of people in a particular moment in time. Their lingual life histories are reflected in the discourses of domestic competency and body satisfaction (Kikue) and longing for youth and body disatisfaction (Tōru) which serve to enact lives of resilience and acquiescence, respectively. Additionally, they situate themselves within Japanese society by justifying actions and behaviors in ways that are deemed reasonable and comprehensible for their generation. A lingual life history account is significant because it addresses two perennial questions within linguistic anthropology: (1) how speakers’ language practices serve to (re)shape and make sense of individual experiences, and (2) how individuals both situate within and connect themselves to larger social systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Anthropological Research
Volume77
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Body
  • Gender
  • Japan
  • Lingual life history
  • Narrative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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