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Troubled NaturesWaste, Environment, Japan$
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Peter Wynn Kirby

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834289

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.001.0001

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Pure Obsession

Pure Obsession

Pollution, Outcasts, and Exclusion

Chapter:
(p.102) Chapter 6 Pure Obsession
Source:
Troubled Natures
Author(s):

Peter Wynn Kirby

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824834289.003.0006

This chapter examines social exclusion in Japan and its implications for ideas of pollution that pervade the country's wastescape and influence social relations. Focusing on certain victims of toxic pollution and other waste problems, it considers the “social pollution” perceived by Japanese groups in comparison with environmental pollution and other forms of ritual pollution that linger on from Japan's spiritual tradition. It places the ostracism of these victims in the wider context of exclusionary thought and action in Japan and the ways that the victims responded to their newfound (though often not terminal) status. It also explores notions of purity, contamination, and “untouchability” in relation to the sociopolitical terrain of community environmental pollution disputes and toxic anxieties.

Keywords:   exclusion, social relations, toxic pollution, waste, social pollution, ritual pollution, ostracism, purity, contamination, untouchability

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