Miyako Inoue presents "Law’s Logistical Media: The Installation of the Filing System in the Postwar Japanese Prosecutor's Office"

April 19, 2018 - 2:00pm
University Campus, Haury Building, Room 215

Miyako Inoue is an associate professor for The Department of Anthropology at Stanford University. She graduated from Washigton University with her Ph.D in 1996. Professor Inoue has completed her first publication titled Vicarious Language: the Political Economy of Gender and Speech in Japan. The literature explores the phenomenon of "womens language" in modern Japanese society. She is also currently working on a second project, focusing on the development of Chinese shorthand. 

This presentation provides a semiotic and linguistic anthropological analysis of the filing system introduced in the Japanese Prosecutor’s Office in the aftermath of WWII, from the late 1940s to the early 1950s. At this time Taylor’s scientific management and Weberian visions of bureaucratic rationality in general expanded into public administrative offices as part of the democratization reform of the Japanese justice system pushed by the American Occupation. The post-war constitutional imperatives of democracy were translated into the mundane yet systematic operation of paperwork rooted in scientific management and the goal of bureaucratic efficiency. This presentation will discuss how the filing system amounted to a logistical mode of governing which spatially and temporally regulated the movement of people and things. The goal of this presentation is to consider (law’s) logistics as a form of power, which derives neither from rules nor disciplines, but from “disposition.” Beyond, and in addition to, the understanding of law hermeneutically as a relatively bounded discourse or set of rules, it shows the law's alternative mode of  existence viewed from its medial infrastructure.