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Department of Social Sciences
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483975
Dr. Jason Danely completed his PhD in anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. Before joining Brookes in 2014, Dr. Danely held teaching posts at Rhode Island College and Grand Valley State University, and received Postdoctoral Fellowships from The Center on Age and Community (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee), and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Kyoto University). His research expertise relates to ageing and care in Japan, where he has at various times taught, studied, performed theatre, travelled, meditated and raised children, over the last twenty years.
Currently accepting Masters by Research or MPhil/PhD research students
Dr. Danely has expertise on the cultural dimensions of ageing, caring, family relations, and everyday ritual practices in Japan (more details here). In 2015, he was one of 35 scholars from around the world to be awarded a two-year Enhancing Life Project Grant to conduct a cross-cultural comparative study of compassionate values among family carers of older adults in Japan and the UK. He was awarded an SSRC Abe Fellowship (2018-20) for his research on older ex-offender resettlement in Japan and the U.K.Dr. Danely is interested in supervising postgraduate work in psychological and medical anthropology, ageing and the life course, care, religious and ritual practice, issues surrounding frailty, death and dying, incarceration and resettlement of older people and contemporary Japanese culture and society.
2018 SSRC Abe Fellowship ‘Comparison of older ex-offender resettlement and community-based organizations for reducing recidivism in Japan and in the United Kingdom’ (with Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology).
2016 British Academy Conference Award 'Vulnerability and the Politics of Care'
2016 Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Small Grant (No. 4922) Dynamics of Japan’s Ageing Prison Population (co-applicant)
2015 Enhancing Life Project Early Career Scholar Award ($50,000), University of Chicago/Ruhr University Bochum. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation
2013 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Short-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship (Sept. 13, 2013- July 12, 2014) (PE13251)
2018-20 Comparison of older ex-offender resettlement and community-based organizations for reducing recidivism in Japan and in the United Kingdom2-year field research with NGOs and Charities that aid in resettlement of older ex-offenders
2017-20 Care, the great human tradition: A multi-disciplinary collaborative exploration of family care across time and culture
2017-18 Dynamics of Japan’s Ageing Prison Population. Literature review and networking in Japan to build a collaborative funding proposal to study older ex-offenders and community.
2013-17 Compassion, Counter-Worlds and Creating Futures: Caring for Elderly Family Members in Japan and the UK. Fieldwork-based qualitative ethnographic research. JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University, Japan. Participant Observation and open-ended interviews with carers of older adults in Oxfordshire County.
For more about my research and publications, visit https://www.jasondanely.com
Demographic and policy changes in Japan during the first decades of the twenty-first century have resulted in significantly more people growing older and dying alone, especially in densely populated urban centers. As the national Long-Term Care Insurance system continues to promote community-based elder care despite weakened family and neighborhood bonds, the home has become an intensified space of care as well as a potential zone of abandonment. This article considers these divergent potentials of home and their implications for thinking about the material, ethical, and aesthetic limits of dwelling as embodied in the specter and spectacle of the lonely death (kodokushi). Such deaths and the empty houses they leave behind index other forms of loss emerging from intertwined histories of the family, welfare, and housing and construction policy. I argue that the connection between local experiences of aging and death and national policies can be found in mediating images and narratives of mourning, which seek to locate and make sense of the inability to dwell. Approaching unwitnessed deaths as specters at the limits of dwelling allows us to move beyond the shock of lonely death and draws our attention instead to the links between caring, mourning, and the home in an aged society. = 21世紀前半の20年間における日本の人口動態と政策の変化の結果、特に人口密集した都心部で、一人で老後を過ごし、亡くなっていく人々の数が著しく増大した。家族や近隣共同体の絆が弱まっているにもかかわらず、国の介護保険制度が地域を基盤とした在宅高齢者介護を促進し続けているため、居宅は介護の場となるだけでなく、潜在的な放棄の場ともなっている。この記事では、これらの居宅の多様な可能性を検討する中で、孤独死の幻影(spectacle)と光景(spectacle)が具現化した場としての住まい(dwelling)の物質的、倫理的、そして美的な限界について考察する。孤独死と残された空家は、家族や福祉、住宅、そして建設政策などが絡み合った歴史から生じる社会的な喪失を写し出すのだ。ここで議論されるのは、地域における高齢化および死の経験と国家政策との関係が、居住(dwell)不可能性を見定め、理解しようと努める哀悼のイメージや物語を仲介することで見出しうるということである。誰にも目撃されることのなかった死を、住まいの限界に現れた幻影としてアプローチすることで、孤独死のショックを乗り越え、高齢化社会における思いやりと、哀悼、そして居宅との関連性に注目することが可能となる。
The increasing operationalisation of frailty including in primary care brings with it a risk of oversimplifying diagnostic processes and inadvertently barring access to comprehensive geriatric assessment services. The emphasis on measurement tools, despite updated guidance to the contrary, can also undermine the importance of clinical judgement, meaning that noncontractual evidence-based opportunities for medical optimisation (e.g. exercise promotion, nutrition optimisation) as well as appropriate access to social supports may be missed. Another significant consequence is to open up an ever-widening gap between clinical approaches and lived experience, including overlooking strengths and resources in problembased approach and inadvertently alienating the very group it is trying to assist. This article argues that the next horizon in frailty should not be to continue to refine its operationalisations but rather to reconnect with more holistic approaches to health and illness in old age, which are more in tune with the tradition of geriatric medicine. Building on recent trends to shift conceptualisation of health and illness in old age, this project would benefit from sociological and humanities-based approaches that foreground older people’s lived experience using theoretically informed description focused on a first-person perspective. In reconfiguring what we think frailty is, such a shift will bring us closer to the views and experience of older people who live with frailty. We see a brighter horizon for frailty in that direction.
This article examines practices of watching and walking as aesthetic staging grounds for the embodiment of social values, well-being, and aged subjectivities. Using a small, grassroots neighbourhood-watch “pilgrimage" created by and for older adults in Kyoto, Japan as my primary case study, I describe how the sacred meanings of pilgrimage come to inhabit spaces of civic social engagement (and vice versa) and elder subjectivity through practices of mapping, record-keeping, and ritual. I argue that following these practices with the older adult pilgrims leads us beyond what Coleman (2002) referred to as a theoretical “pilgrimage ghetto,” and creates openings to engage with multiple registers of intersubjective practice: watching and being watched over; grounding and transcending. Watching and walking also contest the marginality, dependence, and precarious invisibility that dominate popular discourse on aging in contemporary Japan.
This chapter examines ‘successful aging’ through its impacts on formal care workers in Japan. It is based on one year of fieldwork conducted in urban Japan and examines the affective, ethical, and cultural forces that result at times in resilience, compassion, and intimacy between carers and elderly clients, and at other times, in violence, abuse, and abandonment. I argue that locating the source of this divergence in individuals (i.e., adverse coping strategy) reproduces the same neoliberal model of success for care workers as it does for the elderly. Instead, care and abuse in formal care settings can be seen as symptoms of broader political and economic transformations that have been occurring in Japan since the 1990s.
More people in Japan are living into old age than ever before, and most will receive care from a spouse or adult child in the years prior to death. I argue that this care, and the ways it affects emotional adjustment in bereavement, are the most important factors shaping patterns of mourning and memorial in contemporary Japan. By turning from the spectacle of collective and public rituals around death and examining individual narratives, I show how care becomes the basis for the experience of what Strait calls “entangled agency” and Marshall Sahlins refers to as “mutuality of being” with the deceased after the care has “ended.” I argue that providing care for a dying older person entails practices, sensibilities, and affective attunements that bring about transformations of the self that persist after death. The imagined transformations of the deceased in the “other world” mirror those created by carers through objects, images, memories, and practices of mourning.
Organized workshops and conferences
Personal website: www.jasondanely.com