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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

FAMES Room 8/9
Event date: 
Monday, 11 March, 2024 - 17:00

Voice and silence in aging Japan

‘Giving voice’ can be an empowering metaphor that helps to create a space for another’s perspective, allowing for their experience to be noted and attended to. Yet it is also a metaphor that relies on a particular form of articulation. Voice and narrative share many of the same strengths and limitations: for some, they are powerful tools of sense making and communication; but for others they can elude important forms of experience and fail to capture many of the more inchoate aspects of lived life in general. What happens in those moments when words fail, or are simply absent? In addressing this question via fieldwork in a community space in Osaka, I explore how silence can constitute an affective space of care.

Iza Kavedžija is an Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She has written on topics including meaning in later life, wellbeing and creativity. Her book publications include Meaning in Life: Tales from Aging Japan (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019); Values of Happiness: Toward an Anthropology of Purpose in Life (University of Chicago Press, 2016); and The Process of Wellbeing: Conviviality, Care, Creativity (Cambridge University Press, 2021).