Privileged activisms: cultural capital in LGBT and queer communities in Japan

This seminar will discuss the possibilities of conceptualising Japanese LGBT and queer communities and their activism as a ‘field’ in the Bourdieusian sense and consider forms of cultural capital.

I will argue that within the communities studied, certain ways of engaging with queerness and activism are privileged above others. Dale (2012) has discussed the role that notions of ‘foreign-ness’ have played in transgender discourse in Japan, and Savci (2016) has demonstrated that ‘being political’ is used as a form of politico-cultural capital amongst LGBT groups in Turkey.

Through an analysis of a heated exchange between a rurally-based activist and a well-connected city-based activist, this paper will build upon this existing research. It will show how a resistance towards categorisation, and an engagement with ‘urban’ practices of activism, and resistance to binarism are privileged above identity politics and local educational outreach. It will argue that ability to engage with these two modes of activism can be understood as kind of cultural capital, access to which is obtained through study and exposure to these ways of thinking and being. This paper is based on an analysis chapter from my thesis, and feedback and comments are warmly welcomed.

This event is free to attend and booking is not required. 

Location Details

Room 12.21 and 12.25
Social Sciences Building
University of Leeds

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