Global Futures in East Asia: Youth, Nation, and the New Economy in Uncertain Times


Ann Anagnost, Andrea Arai, and Hai Ren (eds.)

Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978-0-0847-7618-9
Binding: paper
Pages: xii, 311


Global Futures in East Asia: Youth, Nation, and the New Economy in Uncertain Times is the twentieth title in the East-West Center book series, Contemporary Issues in Asia and the Pacific, published by Stanford University Press.

The East Asian economic miracle of the twentieth century is now a fond memory. What does it mean to be living in post-miracle times? For the youth of China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, the opportunities and challenges of the neoliberal age, deeply shaped by global forces in labor markets, powerfully frame their life prospects in ways that are barely recognizable to their parents.

Global Futures in East Asia gathers together ethnographic explorations of what its contributors call projects of "life-making." Here we see youth striving to understand themselves, their place in society, and their career opportunities in the nation, region, and world. While some express optimism, it is clear that many others dread their prospects in the competitive global system in which the failure to thrive is isolating, humiliating, and possibly even fatal.

Deeply engaged with some of the most significant theoretical debates in the social sciences in recent years, and rich with rare cross-national comparisons, this collection will be of great interest to all scholars and students interested in the formation of subjects and subjectivities under globalization and neoliberalism.


Details and ordering information at
Stanford University Press

Introduction: Life-Making in Neoliberal Times
  1. The Middle-Class Norm and Responsible Consumption in China's Risk Society
  2. Miraculous Rebirth: Making Global Places in Taiwan
  3. On the Streets of Beijing: Medical Melodrama in the Everyday
  4. On their Own: Becoming Cosmopolitan Sujects beyond College in South Korea
  5. Smile Chaoyang: Education and Culture in Neoliberal Taiwan
  6. "What If Your Client/Employer Treats Her Dog Better Than She Treats You?": Market Militarism and Market Humanism in Postsocialist Beijing
  7. Notes to the Heart: New Lessons in National Sentiment and Sacrifice from Recessionary Japan
  8. Neoliberal Speech Acts: The Equal Opportunity Law and Projects of the Self in a Japanese Corporate Office
  9. Workplace Dramas and Labor Fantasies in 1990s Japan
  10. Governmental Entanglements: The Ambiguities of Progressive Politics in Neoliberal Reform in South Korea
References Cited
About the Contributors


"Global Futures in East Asia is a sophistiated set of ethnographic explorations of what it means to be a young person in contemporary East Asia, seeking a place in a world in motion. A lively and important read."

-- Tamara Jacka, Author of 'Rural Women in Urban China:
Gender, Migration and Social Change'


"This is the first cross-national, collaborative attempt to think through contemporary transformations in economy, value, labor, affect, and subjectivity in neoliberalized East Asia. This is a groundreaking, necessary, and exciting work for all who study East Asia today."

-- Marilyn Ivy, Columbia University