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Trauma, Empowerment and Alternative Space

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Chapter Summary

Freeter activism has often revolved around empowerment, that is, how best to bring about a strengthening of people's self-confidence as political actors. Two concepts of particular importance for understanding the processes are those of collective trauma and alternative space. This chapter clarifies these concepts and indicates how they can be brought together in a way that furthers an understanding of how freeter activism has developed in Japan. Both concepts are related to the issue of empowerment. The chapter starts by clarifying the concept of collective trauma before briefly discussing the relationship between empowerment and alternative spaces. The 1990s proved to be a traumatic period of excruciating self-reevaluations for many Japanese, and to understand the dynamics of protest we need to take account of a second trauma, namely the experience of the protest movements of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Keywords: empowerment; freeter activism; historical trauma; Japan



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