Japanese Journal of Human Geography Vol.59 No.2 (2007)

Vol.59 No.2 (2007)



The Camp as a Space of Exception in Contemporary Geopolitics:
Biopower of ‘Hospitality’ in Camps for ‘Illegal Immigrants’ in Italy
KITAGAWA Shinya (1)
Background and Disappearance of ‘Barrack Towns’ in Post-war Kobe City, Japan
MOTOOKA Takuya (20)


Global Commodity Chain Approach and Geography
ARAKI Hitoshi (41)

Research Note

Settlement Process and Networks of Amami Migrants:
A Case Study of Homeland-based Associations in Kobe before World War II

Book Review (78)

Meeting Reports

256th Regular Meeting (80)
260th Regular Meeting (82)
88th Meeting of Geographical Thought (85)

News (88)


The Camp as a Space of Exception in Contemporary Geopolitics:
Biopower of ‘Hospitality’ in Camps for ‘Illegal Immigrants’ in Italy

(Graduate Student, Department of Geography, Kwansei Gakuin University)

The purpose of this article is to examine a form of biopower that operates for geopolitical reasons in the contemporary globalized world. The object of analysis is a camp in which the sovereign power demonstrates its primordial structure. According to Giorgio Agamben, the Italian philosopher, such camps are a part of the paradigm of modern biopolitics, that is to say, a space where the state of exception becomes the norm. People held in the camp are abandoned by the ordinary juridical order and become ‘human beings in excess’ and ‘bare life’.
In this paper, I analyze a mechanism of biopower at a Center for Temporary Stay and Assistance(CPT) for ‘illegal immigrants’ in Italy as a pertinent example of one of these camps. Anti-CPT movements radically confront the camp’s functions of administrative detention and violence. But, even if this perspective grasps undoubtedly some rationales that make the CPT operational, there could also be a risk of being politically near-sighted in reducing biopower to these characteristics. Because we can say that the power in the CPT tries to save, protect, and reproduce lives somehow. Its major functions could be not only the power of detention but also that of ‘hospitality’.
Regina Pacis, a CPT situated near Lecce in the Italian southeast, has welcomed illegal migrants as ‘guests’. It has provided charity to the entrants, even if they may be excluded or expelled from Italy in the near future. Such power can operate, being based on absolute morals such as the dignity of human life. But this sort of charity or humanitarian assistance represents the newcomers as ‘victims’. Finally the power of good will to ‘aid survival’ can gradually reverse into the opposite direction. This process demonstrates that the life over which it is exercised is not outside the sovereign power.
So, it will be necessary to examine ‘critical geopolitics’ from the point of view of various forms of biopolitics.

Key words: critical geopolitics, camp, illegal immigrants, biopower, hospitality, Italy, CPT Regina Pacis

Background and Disappearance of ‘Barrack Towns’ in Post-war Kobe City, Japan


Recently, the idea of housing-for-life and housing welfare, which considers resident housing rights and independence rights to be of primary importance is permeating through Japan. Under this concept, squatter areas, once called ‘barrack towns’, have been observed by society and form the object of various support actions. Also, in academic circles some research has begun to shed light on the process of how the barrack towns have remained through time or how they have been improved while taking notice of the residents’ housing and independence rights.
However, such research seldom examines the barrack towns that have disappeared and does not clarify the process of disappearance of barrack towns throughout the city. Indeed, most barrack towns have actually disappeared without being improved. When taking notice of the residents’ independence rights regarding the maintenance and improvement of the living environment of their barrack town, it is also important to pay attention to the process of disappearance of barrack towns where this was not realizable. That is why this paper will discuss the process of disappearance and background of the squatter barrack towns in post-war Kobe City (from immediately after the end of the Second World War until the high economic growth period), while taking notice of the relationship between the trend of their municipal governance and the social circumstances of those days. The process from formation to disappearance of the squatter barrack towns in Kobe City can be summarized as follows:
Immediately after the end of the war, a large number of vagrants who had no place to live, and people who had no choice but to build their own barracks on burnt-out war sites, appeared in Kobe City. Although these two kinds of homeless groups were in the same situation of housing poverty, the response of the administration towards each group was completely different. Accordingly, in contrast to the vagrants, who formed a target of control, the act of building barracks itself, although most probably an illegal act, was permitted and accepted by the city administration as a result of efforts toward self-reliance. So for this reason many barrack towns were constructed while large flows of population were entering Kobe City.
From 1950 onwards however, even though rehabilitation projects were progressing, the removal of barracks by the city administration was begun. Nevertheless, the number of barrack towns increased, since the supply of both public and private housing was unable to fulfill the housing demand of the increasing urban population in the 1950s. This resulted in contrasting situations of barrack towns decreasing or increasing in different parts of Kobe City. The barrack towns in the central area were removed but reappeared afterwards at riverbeds and underneath elevated railway tracks in peripheral areas.
Because of this situation in the 1950s, barrack towns were frequently taken up in newspapers, forming the subject of social problems. This kind of social problem had four sides to it: the issues of landscape, disaster prevention, sanitation, and anti-sociability. These were repeatedly taken up by the mass media, and were used as justifications to the general public for the removal of barracks by the city administration.
In the latter half of the 1950s, the problem of illegal occupancy especially was also taken up as a social problem relating to barrack towns. The correspondence of the administration over this social problem was deployed not on a local scale but on a national scale. Six mayor meetings and chambers of commerce (Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe) discussed possible measures against illegal occupation. Subsequently, each organization submitted request documents to the Ministry of Justice, and after that Law of Theft of Immovable Property was enacted in the Diet in 1960. On the basis of this law, Kobe City systematically set up regulation measures aimed at the ‘illegal occupancies’ in the city, and officially carried out barrack removals in the 1960s. In this case the removal method used by Kobe City consisted of a monetary negotiation with the residents, urging them to voluntarily remove the barracks themselves, rather than opting for forced removal by a subrogation. It was finally around 1980 that the squatter barracks in Kobe City disappeared almost completely.

Key words: barrack town, squatter area, urban government administration, human settlement problem, post-war Japanese cities, Kobe City

Global Commodity Chain Approach and Geography

ARAKI Hitoshi
(Faculty of Education, Yamaguchi University)

Today, we consume many commodities without knowing much about where or how they were produced, or how the seller obtained them. Against this background, the author reviewed approaches of global commodity chains (GCC) from a geographical perspective.
The concept of a commodity chain was first introduced by Wallerstein in his Modern World-System Theory in 1974. The concept was applied by Gereffi, an American sociologist, to analyze the economy under a state of globalization in the 1990s. Gereffi focused mainly on three aspects of commodity chains: (1) governance, (2) geography, and (3) consumption. Governance was considered the most important and its styles such as buyer-driven or producer / supplier-driven have been comprehensively studied. Geographical aspects have been widely studied in the manufacturing industry but little studied in the agricultural industry. Consumption aspects, a growing new area of recent interest, considered commodity fetishism or ethical commodity chains.
That approach was criticized as being an over-simplification of the production sector. Lack of cultural aspects and micro-scale analyses were also pointed out, which lead to GCC being developed more comprehensively. For example, the concepts of commodity circuit, commodity network, and value chain approach were introduced during this last decade. In addition, recent new trends in food studies were also important issues, and food systems, fili俊e, food regime, and food network became keywords.
Alongside these theoretical discussions, many case studies have also been reported. Regarding the agri-food sector, while much research was done on exports from Africa to Europe and from South America to North America, little was done on Asian chains or chains involving exports to Japan. As for African exports, horticultural products were the main items, but fruits, forest products, cotton, coffee and other various commodities were also items of focus. Especially coffee was considered as the main item of fair trade. Along with fair trade, ethical trade was one of the topics in commodity chain approaches.
In relation to geography, Leslie, Reimer, and Hughes were pioneers. Especially, the book Geographies of Commodity Chains could be said to be a cornerstone. Many of its articles concern commodity fetishism or ethical commodity chains, also introduced because of criticisms of the commodity chain approach of the 1990s.
Hughes and Guthman have considered ethical trade and organic agriculture. While they did not promote fair trade or ethical trade and organic farming, they took a critical stance towards them from the viewpoint of commodity fetishism, for example. In fact they argued that consumer trends or preferences for fair or ethical commodities and for organic or eco-friendly commodities could be one of the processes of commodity fetishism, and they considered who could profit most through this process. Actually it would be retailers or distributors, would it not? How did already small and poor farmers improve their difficult conditions through the movement of fair, ethical and organic chains? The movement resulted only in increased profits for retailers. Hughes and Guthman tried to reveal the hidden meaning of these movements in recent discussions about GCC.

Key words: commodity chain, geography, food studies, globalization, consumption

Settlement Process and Networks of Amami Migrants:
A Case Study of Homeland-based Associations in Kobe before World War II

(Graduate Student, Department of Geography and Area Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University)

In this study, I elucidate the settlement process of Amami migrants in Kobe before World War II. Next, I analyze Amami settlers’ reactions to their host society by observing the activity of homeland-based associations and the dominant discourse about their own identity by the elite class of Amami settlers. The number of migrants from the Amami Islands to Kobe increased rapidly during the 1920s when Kobe industrialized and some areas were formed where Amami settlers were concentrated. This resulted from chain migration that is based on using connections as a means to find work and housing.
In borderlands like the Amami Islands, the inhabitants frequently face situations where they are ‘othered’ in the process of being subsumed within a modern nation consisting largely of a majority people. This exerts great influence upon the construction of their identity. The purpose of this paper is to examine dynamic aspects of identity and networks that were constructed within the formation process of the community of Amami migrants.
The case of Amami migrants illustrates a formation process different from the spontaneous one that originates with the relationship established before migration. With the creation of these various scale communities based on territorial bonds, nested commonness became structured. Moreover, many homeland-based associations for Amami settlers advocated assimilation into mainland Japan for the discipline and life-improvement of non-elite Amami migrants. This paper reveals the ambivalent and multiple aspects of the identity of Amami migrants; they hope not only to assimilate into their host society but also to maintain their solidarity and their culture. This is one of the characteristics of the identity of Amami migrants. This characteristic emerged in a dynamic process of migration that was structured in a complex interaction among many factors.

Key words: homeland-based association, borderlands, identity, Amami migrants, Kobe

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