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Surak, Kristin (2013) Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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Few practices are simultaneously as exotic and representative, esoteric and quotidian, instrumental and sensual, political and cultural as the Japanese tea ceremony. Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice uncovers how the practice became such a potent symbol of the nation while undergoing a radical transformation of its carriers, as what was once an aesthetic pastime of elite men has survived into the twenty-first century as a hobby of middle-class women. Simultaneously, the book offers an analytical bridge between the largely separate literatures on macro-political nationalism and micro-cultural enactments of everyday nationhood by examining their shared repertoire of action. This “nation-work” is visible not only during the foundational phases of nation-building, but also in the more mundane routines of nation-maintenance thereafter. Each chapter applies a different interpretive lens – phenomenological, historical, institutional, and ethnographic – to capture the ways Japaneseness crystallizes in the tea ceremony both during the fervour of nation formation, and in the moment-to-moment interactions within the tea room. The conclusion sets the practice in comparative perspective, drawing on other classic venues of nation-work – gymnastics and music – in Europe and Asia, and returning the different dimensions of the tea ceremony to the overall framework under which they are viewed: as an exceptionally vivid illustration of one of the fundamental processes of modernity, the work of making nations.

Item Type: Authored Books
Keywords: nationalism, ethnicity, culture, tea ceremony, Japan
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISBN: 9780804778664
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2014 14:00

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