Comparing the experiences of caring for older family members in Japan and England

Exploring the challenges and resonances of family caregiving across cultures with anthropologist Jason Danely.

photo of Jason Danely

Modern healthcare and social welfare has increased our chances to live longer, healthier lives, but most will still require some care in old age. Most likely, this care will come, at least in part, from family members-- but how do these unpaid carers negotiate their roles, becoming sensitive to the needs of others without neglecting themselves? 

In this talk, cultural anthropologist Dr. Jason Danely will discuss insights that he gained about these questions as described in his latest book, Fragile Resonance: Caring for Family Members in Japan and England. 
This book is the culmination of over four-years of research, getting to know Japanese and English carers, spending time with them in support groups and in their homes, and listening to their experiences. Juxtaposing the stories of men and women providing care in two different cultures with very different social care systems allows us to see in greater relief both the similarities and divergences. 
The book argues that while unpaid family carers everywhere face challenges that can lead to serious impacts on their health and well-being, both the underlying reasons for these hardships and the ways in which they might be addressed should be understood within the context of meaningful cultural narratives and the ways they come to resonate with individuals' experiences.

Jason Danely is Reader in Anthropology and Steering Group Chair of the Healthy Ageing & Care Research Network at Oxford Brookes University. Jason is the author of Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Japan (2014, Rutgers University Press), and most recently, Fragile Resonance: Caring for Older Family Members in Japan and England (2022, Cornell University Press). He has also authored several articles and book chapters on various topics related to ageing, ritual, dying and care, and has edited two collections, including Vulnerability and the Politics of Care: Transdisciplinary Dialogues (with Victoria Browne and Doerthe Rosenow 2021). He is currently finishing a book on formerly incarcerated older adults in Japan for Vanderbilt University Press.