This book explores social change in Japan at the most intimate site of social interaction – the home – by providing a detailed ethnography of everyday life in a sharehouse. Sharehouses, which emerged in the 2007 'sharehouse boom', are a deliberate alternative to life in the family home and are considered an experimental space for the construction of new social identities.
Through a description of the micro-level, mundane, material interactions among residents within a mid-sized, mixed-sex sharehouse, the book considers what these interactions indicate about existing – and often conflicting – ideas about intimacy, privacy, gender, the individual, family, community, and the home.
In so doing it highlights how sharehouse residents, though a dramatic rejection of the twentieth-century domestic model, with its ideal of the family home as a partnership between a male wage-earner and a dedicated housewife, and its implied separation of 'family' and 'outsiders', are nevertheless uneasy about overturning existing gender roles and giving precedence to the individual over community, and are regarded as a foreign import.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Aspiration
Chapter 3: International Exchange
Chapter 4: Public and Private
Chapter 5: Nuisance
Chapter 6: Waste
Chapter 7: Village Society
Chapter 8: Conclusion
Caitlin Meagher is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Skidmore College, USA.