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Building Japan: Technology as a problem-space for Veridiction, Jurisdiction, and Subjectivation.


This research is an attempt to examine elements in the classic relations of state actors to the agency of the individual through the medium of technology development and deployment. The chapters analyze discourses surrounding the notions of `the state' and `technology' as fields for exploration of the Foucaultian problematizations of veridiction, jurisdiction, and subjectivation. Specifically, how have these two poles interacted in practices of `truth telling', governance, and the formation of citizen and ethnic identities.

In particular, the task at hand is to think about the deployment of technology in the configuration of affect in relation to an identity, `the Japanese'. Japan had started as a place of liminality in the research: the non-West modern, that didn't quite fit the mold of so many classical narratives of modernity. But as my inquiry continued the questions turned more sharply towards an investigation of practices of affect and subjectivity. `What part did technology play in the development of a Japanese state identity?' gradually transformed into a montage of narratives in which the technical simply met the subjective, and the questions emerged from this meeting. For example, what is the force exerted by a practice of memory of the atomic bomb upon an idea of peace? And, in the representation of a national disaster what narrative tropes are invoked and hazarded in the contest of the `national experience'?

I select a series of technological developments spanning three centuries of Japanese history and utilize the historical narrative as a space for raising these questions as they emerge and are articulated/argued about by the actors involved, as well as by the `second-order observers': the historians and social philosophers that mark and delimit the field of `Japanese history'.

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