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The Anthropology of Vulnerability

Research period:2021.10-2024.3

TAKEZAWA Shoichiro


Vulnerability ,Suffering ,Humanity 


In 1992, British anthropologist John Davis expanded on previous research into stable social structures and culture systems within the framework of refugee studies to declare the need for an anthropology fraught with confusion and despair, or, to use his words, “an anthropology of suffering.” Two decades later, in 2016, the US anthropologist Sherry Ortner asserted that “the central theme of anthropology is ‘dark anthropology.'” She argued that this anthropology focuses on people who are suffering from things like factory closures, job losses, short-term employment, disease, war, and disaster. What lays behind such changes of interest in anthropology is the emergence of large numbers of immigrants and refugees due to progress of globalization and neoliberalism along with an increase of unemployment and short-term employment as a result of factory relocations. In today’s world where change is accelerating, there seems to be little possibility that anthropology can limit itself to “the study of research into foreign cultures” that heretofore has been its mission. To the contrary, it would seem that these developments call for a fundamental change in the object of anthropological research and the methods used. The purpose of the present research is to find new directions for comprehensively researching the diverse peoples who live in today’s suffering-filled world.