Kaori Koike

Alt Title

Reading body images as an enculturated text of domination, subordination, and resistance

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cooper, Martha, 1954-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication


Body image in women--Japan; Women--Japan--Psychology; Women--Japan--Social conditions


This project attempts to achieve multiple goals which may contribute to communication scholarship: (1) to introduce the notion of complexity in rhetorical criticism, (2) to apply and to evaluate postmodem/dialogic theories to the non-Westem mediated society, and (3) to add a perspective to the theory of resistance toward emancipation o f the marginalized. Those goals are implemented through textual interpretations of the enculturated body, specifically of Japanese women, where various meanings are ascribed, inscribed, suppressed, and/or erased simultaneously at various in/corporeal levels. Women?s identities as enculturated beings in Japanese society reflect their lives as an intersection of various factors-political economy of post-war capitalism, postcolonial subordination, postmodern fragmentation, sexual exploitation, cultural hegemony, and emancipatory oppression. Not only those vectors are simultaneously exercised by women and/or projected onto them, it creates an increasingly heterogeneous identity both among women and within a woman. The heterogeneity of those identities contributes to the complex picture of enculturation by adding a meaning to the body-as-an-index. Specifically, the project advances depiction, analysis, and response to a pattern of enculturation prominent in the dominant Japanese cultures-the transformational salvation myth. Each chapter contributes to one of the following discussions: (1) a theoretical overview o f enculturation, complexity, dialogy, and resistance; (2) an illustration of cultural landscape of the enculturated female body as a vehicle of male salvation; (3) an analysis of the contemporary enculturation of the female body and its political problems, particularly the one created by and through cultural industry; (4) tactics of resistance(s) against the oppressive enculturation; and (5) evaluation of the analytical strategies. Cultural traditions of juxtaposing feminine bodies to various social instabilities, interwoven with the rise of new consumer culture that packages simulacra of the female body, create a new environment for managing the enculturated sex-body. Thus the female body is perceived as a symbolic locus of colonization through consumption, which, in the end, legitimates and rationalizes material and symbolic violence against women. Creative tactics of resistance, therefore, need to be invented.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [156]-165)


165 pages




Northern Illinois University

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