Atemporal dwelling: Heterotopias of homelessness in contemporary Japan1

Ritu Vij*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter examines heterotopias of homelessness in contemporary Japan as an instance of de-fatalizing the present. Inverting dominant understandings of home and homelessness, community and violence, at multiple geographical and political sites, homelessness construed as a heterotopic/heterotemporal site enables a thinking of politics otherwise. Incentives provided by the Government Housing Loan Corporation (GHLC), for instance, targeted middle-class home ownership, with comparatively little assistance for private rental housing or low-income housing. The chapter makes a theoretical case for deploying heterotopia as a heuristic device for analyzing the politics of space-time within the site of homelessness in Japan. Conventionally framed as a social pathology or disaster zone, homelessness is re-figured as a practice of atemporal dwelling that reclaims the social as a domain of empathy and care outside the disciplinary reach of a government of the social. Heterotopias function as counter-sites, Foucault suggests, by bringing together multiple historical periods, incompatible parts of the population, and discordant times in one geographic space.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTime, Temporality and Violence in International Relations
Subtitle of host publication(De)fatalizing the Present, Forging Radical Alternatives
EditorsAnna M Agathangelou, Kyle D Killian
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781134670833
ISBN (Print)9780415712712
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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