Orin Starn is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. He is the author of The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal and Nightwatch: The Politics of Protest in the Andes, and the coeditor of The Peru Reader, all also published by Duke University Press.
Pressed by a nagging recession, a declining—and aging—population, insecuritization of employment, and the threat of nuclear contamination, Japanese are struggling with social precarity. More live alone, fewer have regular jobs, and a sense of human disconnectedness is rampant. This chapter considers how one does fieldwork on and in precariousness. It also examines how those most vulnerable to social isolation and everyday risk are coming up with new strategies for redesigning life with others.