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Alternative Space, Withdrawal and Empowerment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains how social movements have attempted to reach out to and empower the subaltern groups. It discusses the role alternative space has played in the process of empowerment. Alternative space plays a crucial role in enabling the construction of, and the playful experimentation with alternative discourses. The chapter introduces social withdrawers and NEET in Japan, two categories of subalternity interpreted here not as "naturally" existing but as the result of labelling practices that have increasingly become contested by social movements. The phenomenon of social withdrawal first drew wider attention in the early 1990s, when it became apparent that many children who refused to go to school went on to lead isolated lives as grownups without studying or working. A fruitful vantage point on social movements is to look at how they relate to the difficulty of balancing abstract and concrete forms of interaction against each other.

Keywords: alternative space; empowerment; freeter unions; Japan; NEET; social withdrawers; subalterns



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