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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Katrin Gengenbach

Since April 2008
(PhD Students, April 1, 2008 - September 30, 2008)


  • History of consumption and everyday culture since the 1920s

  • Cultural Studies Japan

Abstract of Research
Consumption discourses in Japan, 1945-1956


The dissertational project examines consumption discourses in early postwar Japan, 1945-1956, by a discourse analysis after Foucault. The study focuses on social constructions of meaning and distinction (Bourdieu), as well as on the conceptualisation of consumption and class consciousness. Concerning the myth of the American „middle class“, a critical analysis of discourse formation of marginalised concepts such as poverty and luxury (resp. of social mobility and the new rich) shall be able to question cultural tastemaking in times of a „reformation“ of cultural values. Considering today’s globalised consumer culture debates, the project tries to find solutions to transnational processes of power relations, patterns of action, alternatives, and distinction theories before and after the war and occupation in the specific local context of the Japanese region.