This book explores the ways social groups were constituted and reconstituted over the course of the nineteenth century. It follows institutions across the divide of the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and finds important continuities in the context of revolutionary disjunction. It shows both how Tokugawa Japan could not be “modern” and how the same institutions that made the Tokugawa state decisively “premodern” nonetheless prepared the way for the adoption of the structures and technologies of the modern nation-state. It then highlights status as the central institution of the early modern political order. Additionally, it contrasts how the geographies of identity looked as they were conceived with the complexities of their actual operation. The chapters in this book build on one another, but they do not offer comprehensive, monographic coverage of the topics they address, either individually or severally.
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