A Coming of Age in the Anthropological Study of Anime?
Introductory Thoughts Envisioning the Business Anthropology of Japanese Animation
AbstractThis article highlights how Anglophone anthropological studies of Japanese animation (anime) have overlooked its businesspeople (such as producers, investors, merchandisers, and entrepreneurs) by formulaically advocating anime creators and fans as crusaders subverting the global dominance of Euro–American global entertainment capitalism. Contextualising such orientation as an example of what Gayatri Spivak calls “strategic essentialism”, the article further explores how to break out of this essentialist impasse of analysis in the anthropological approach to anime. The article suggests that a potential exit might exist through envisioning the business anthropology of anime, i.e. by casting an ethnographic focus on anime’s businesspeople as the legitimate interlocutors for anthropological inquiries into anime. The author further explores the preliminary theoretical implications of this analytical turn through his own business ethnography of an international start-up venture of anime merchandising.
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