The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

An Anthropological Study of Street-Wisdom and the Emergence of New Locality

Joint Research Coordinator SEKINE Yasumasa

Reserch Theme List


The spread of global capitalism inspired by neoliberalism has led to “the death of homeostasis,” the lack of constancy in everyday life. The result has been the rise of “societiesof control” in which the dominant class and the underclass are clearly divided. The “underclass”peoplewho lack stable employmentand capitaland who live barely on or nearby the street in a world without guarantees are regarded as the avant-gardeof this radical social change. Even those who belong to the mainstream of the present home-oriented society arenow fearful about losing their stable positions because of the strong centrifugal force of the neo-liberalist society. Thus, everyone is now required to know the street-wisdom accumulated by the bottom people living on or nearby the street.If, then, we appliedthis schema to the understandingof localityin the present society, we couldseelocality today, that is, incidents around the marginalized regions as a broad sense of “street phenomena”. As global cities in which time is fluidand flexiblegrow to mammoth scaleand thoroughly exploit their hinterlands, localities on their peripheries are forced tostruggle to survive. Our majorobjective in this research is to explore “street phenomena” (the process of defeat and reconstructionof marginalized locus) in both narrow and broadsenses. The goal is to produce ethnographieswhich capture street-wisdom, that is, the way in which contingentflows found in the “streetized” locus under the pressure of the planned design of mainstream society become resources for survival tactics.