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Working Skin"Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan"$
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Joseph D. Hankins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520283282

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520283282.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Of Skins and Workers

Of Skins and Workers

Producing the Buraku

(p.31) One Of Skins and Workers
Working Skin

Joseph D. Hankins

University of California Press

The tannery produces leather; the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) produces webpages, U.N. documents, and other representations of the Buraku situation. As much as these processes produce objects central to the contemporary Buraku situation, they also demand certain practices from the people who produce these objects. Following the jobs of Tanimoto-san in the tannery and Malaya-san at IMADR, this chapter provides an ethnographic description of the work, the people, and the institutions involved in the day-to-day operations of the current Buraku situation. It revisits linguistic anthropology’s contention that signification is an achievement, discussed in the introduction, to examine how people and objects, as much as words, are also achieved in concrete interaction. It explores the uneven dynamic between these two types of labor—the labor of representation and the labor represented. This chapter contends that the work entailed in this split between narrating and narrated creates not only commodities or information but also a relationship between kinds of subjects, who are recognizable as either political actors or as evidence of discrimination.

Keywords:   factory labor, NGOs, immaterial and material labor, humanitarianism

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