Organized Panel Session
Not all mobility is equal: that of certain race and class (e.g., executives and study abroad students) are celebrated as “globalizing” and that of others (e.g., non-white immigrants) are treated as illicit. Such “regimes of mobility” (Glick Schiller and Salazar 2013) shape the contour of borders between peoples, allowing some to be subverted (i.e., “cosmopolitans”) and others to be highlighted (e.g., “foreigners”). These regimes, we argue, are effective because it is difficult to see them as dealing with the same thing—human mobility. We thus need to shift our attention to different types of “borders”—that between “business person” and “laborer,” between “settlers” and “immigrants,” etc.—that nonetheless intersect with constructed borders of culture, nation, and ethnicity.
Papers in this session seek to do so in the context of Japan, with its decreasing young labor force and pushes to supplement the labor force with “foreign” one, ever-growing xenophobia, rising presence of individuals with mixed-roots, and rampant globalism that valorizes the flow of people albeit unevenly. Here, the border of “student” and diverse kinds of “workforce” between which migrants shift or occupy simultaneously became murky and strategically contentious (Debnar). The borders between “multicultural” and “Japanese” (Imoto/Tokunaga) as well as between “abroad” and “home” (Doerr/Poole/Hedrick) are also blurred and contested in class activities by college students with diverse backgrounds. Active engagement in shifting such borders becomes important, affecting government policy-making (Kamiyoshi/White). Together, these papers showcase on-going dynamics of border-making, shifting, and subversions.