Revolutionary Suicide and Other Desperate Measures

Narratives of Youth and Violence from Japan and the United States

Revolutionary Suicide and Other Desperate Measures

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: 1 illustrations Published: September 2011

Activism, Asian Studies > East Asia, Sociology

In Revolutionary Suicide and Other Desperate Measures, Adrienne Carey Hurley examines how child abuse and youth violence are understood, manufactured, and represented, but still disavowed, in Japan and the United States. Through analysis of autobiographical fiction, journalism, film, and clinical case studies, she charts a “culture of child abuse” extending from the home to the classroom, the marketplace, and the streets in both countries. Hurley served as a court-appointed special advocate for abused children, and she brings that perspective to bear as she interprets texts. Undertaking close reading as a form of advocacy, she exposes how late-capitalist societies abuse and exploit youth, while at the same time blaming them for their own vulnerability and violence. She objects to rote designations of youth violence as “inexplicable,” arguing that such formulaic responses forestall understanding and intervention. Hurley foregrounds theories of youth violence that locate its origins in childhood trauma, considers what happens when young people are denied opportunities to develop a political analysis to explain their rage, and explores how the chance to engage in such an analysis affects the occurrence and meaning of youth violence.


Revolutionary Suicide and Other Desperate Measures is movingly humane and passionately political. Hurley’s compassionate approach to the topics of child abuse and youth violence, underresearched in the field of Japan studies, transcends the limiting framework of juvenile delinquency and those very tropes about children and youth that are criticized in this study.” — Eiko Maruko Siniawer, Journal of Japanese Studies

“Hurley appeals to those committed to building intergenerational movements for radical social change and transformative justice. Her interdisciplinary analysis will benefit the work of a wide range of actors, from youth advocates, teachers, and social workers to scholars in the newly emerging field of girlhood studies as well as those specializing in the sociology of youth culture.” — Lena Carla Palacios, McGill Journal of Education

"What Hurley’s work does is expose the ways in which this reality is masked by the self-soothing message that all children are worthy of protection and that protection will be maintained at all costs. That message alone makes this book a worthy read."  — Bethany Sharpe, Human Rights Review

“Organizing her work around children and youth, Adrienne Carey Hurley opens up new ways of conducting cross-cultural work between Japan and the United States. Instead of comparing national cultures and negotiating similarities and differences, Hurley effectively shows how the appetite for representational violence (that necessarily relates to the experience of real violence shared by many youth in Japan and the United States) must be studied as a single phenomenon, one that cannot be split up, and thus neutralized, by overemphasis on national particularities.” — Eric Cazdyn, author of The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan

“This is one of the most unsettling scholarly works I have ever read. Adrienne Carey Hurley has produced a far-reaching, audacious meditation on violence that cannot be reconciled with existing therapeutic regimes, adult-centered political movements, or progressive antiviolence agendas. Her willingness to move her analysis across texts, state geographies, institutional forms, historical contexts, and racial subjectivities is awe inspiring. It is no exaggeration to say that my political identity has been permanently altered by this book.” — Dylan Rodríguez, author of Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Adrienne Carey Hurley is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at McGill University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1

“Livid with History”: An Introduction to Part 1 19

1. Survivor Discourse, the Limits of Objectivity, and Orpha 30

2. Shizuko, the Silent Girl: Uchida Shungiku's Fazaa Fakkaa 46

3. “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean”: Dorothy Allison's Bastard out of Carolina 75

Part 2

The Message: An Introduction to Part 2 107

4. Engendering First World Fears: The Teenager and the Terrorist 122

5. “Killer Kids” and “Cutters” 148

6. The Fiction of Hoshino Tomoyuki and Japanarchy 2K: Lonely Hearts Revolution 177

Conclusion. A Case for Reparations 215

Appendix 223

Notes 225

Bibliography 247

Index 253
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4961-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4942-6
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