Pollution, Outcasts, and Exclusion
This chapter examines social exclusion in Japan and its implications for ideas of pollution that pervade the country's wastescape and influence social relations. Focusing on certain victims of toxic pollution and other waste problems, it considers the “social pollution” perceived by Japanese groups in comparison with environmental pollution and other forms of ritual pollution that linger on from Japan's spiritual tradition. It places the ostracism of these victims in the wider context of exclusionary thought and action in Japan and the ways that the victims responded to their newfound (though often not terminal) status. It also explores notions of purity, contamination, and “untouchability” in relation to the sociopolitical terrain of community environmental pollution disputes and toxic anxieties.
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