Ideas and practices concerning sleep and night-time are constantly changing and widely varied in different cultures and societies. What we do during the day and night is the result of much political struggle. Trade unions, political parties, entrepreneurs, leaders and schools boards, all have an interest in questions of timing for the opening and closing of shops, the starting hours of schools and factories, and the number of hours people have to work and sleep. By drawing together comparative case studies from countries in both Asia and Europe, Night-time and Sleep in Asia and the West allows the reader to track the differences in the cultural importance given to the night, and to compare the ways in which the challenges and opportunities of modernity have been played out in the East and the West.
Asia today is one of the most dynamic regions of the world. The previously predominant image of ‘timeless peasants’ has given way to the image of fast-paced business people, mass consumerism and high-rise urban conglomerations. Yet much discourse remains entrenched in the polarities of East versus West’, ‘Tradition versus Change’. This series hopes to provide a forum for anthropological studies which break with such polarities. It will publish titles dealing with cosmopolitanism, cultural identity, representations, arts and performance. The complexities of urban Asia, its elites, its political rituals, and its families will also be explored.