SUMMER READING SALE! 30% off all eBooks until Sept 2nd! Reluctant Intimacies: Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands | BERGHAHN BOOKS
Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Reluctant Intimacies: Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands

View Table of Contents

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Reluctant Intimacies

Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands

Beata Świtek

242 pages, 2 maps, 10 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-269-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (September 2016)

ISBN  978-1-80073-016-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (March 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78533-270-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Specialized readers will benefit from ´Switek’s ethnographic insights into cross-cultural body work and national discourses on culture, religion, and race… [It] is a welcome addition to Japanese studies and to anthropological debates about migration, care work, and nation.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

"As the first ethnographic account of migrant care workers in Japan, Reluctant Intimacy is a welcome addition to the body of literature on migration and care, and serves as a useful resource for anthropologists, sociologists, and migration studies researchers and students." • Social Science Japan

“[The author] masterfully weaves together the tense strands of mobility, economy, culture and care in a way that is clear, smart, and compelling.  While much of the book will be of particular interest to Japan specialists, Świtek’s main contributions are to our understanding of intimacy, familiarity and cultural imaginations in an aging society, and she frames these concepts with brief but effective references throughout. For this reason, and for its sensitive ethnographic descriptions, Reluctant Intimacies would be appropriate for use in undergraduate or graduate courses and should be seen as a model for anthropologists writing on the complexities of care and immigration.” • Anthropology & Aging

“For ethnographers of Japan and Asia, as well as the scholars of migration, this is a valuable addition to the literature.” • Medical Anthropology Quarterly

“Beata Switek shares her insights about this important topic by skillfully blending qualitative, ethnographic data focused on the various participants directly and indirectly involved in the care of Japanese elderly with comprehensive literature and statistical information.” • International Migration Review

“Świtek’s use of theory is impressive, wide-ranging, and, above all, clear. Students at all levels would learn much from reading Reluctant Intimacies.” • The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

“This study is based on in-depth research involving a good analysis of the articulation of national identities, sense of belonging and local labour markets with the social and bodily intimacies related to care for the elderly in Japanese institutions… It is an essential contribution to the understanding of the cultural, personal and social relations in care work.” • Ratna Saptari, Leiden University

“Świtek’s study is a significant contribution to studies of migration in relation to national imaginations, as well as to the analysis of carework in a changing global context. The book provides both rich ethnographic detail and insightful generalizations and is a compelling analysis of how cultural and racial ideologies find expression in the mundane interactions of everyday life. The author’s linguistic fluency and reflections on her positionality also enhance the study immensely. This book is a real gem.” • David L. McConnell, The College of Wooster


Based on seventeen months of ethnographic research among Indonesian eldercare workers in Japan and Indonesia, this book is the first ethnography to research Indonesian care workers’ relationships with the cared-for elderly, their Japanese colleagues, and their employers. Through the notion of intimacy, the book brings together sociological and anthropological scholarship on the body, migration, demographic change, and eldercare in a vivid account of societal transformation. Placed against the background of mass media representations, the Indonesian workers’ experiences serve as a basis for discussion of the role of bodily experience in shaping the image of a national “other” in Japan.

Beata Świtek is Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Subject: Medical Anthropology
Area: Asia-Pacific


Download ToC (PDF)

Back to Top

Library Recommendation Form

Dear Librarian,

I would like to recommend Reluctant Intimacies Japanese Eldercare in Indonesian Hands for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

I recommend this title for the following reasons:

BENEFIT FOR THE LIBRARY: This book will be a valuable addition to the library's collection.

REFERENCE: I will refer to this book for my research/teaching work.

STUDENT REFERRAL: I will regularly refer my students to the book to assist their studies.

OWN AFFILIATION: I am an editor/contributor to this book or another book in the Series (where applicable) and/or on the Editorial Board of the Series, of which this volume is part.