Iza Kavedžija is a Lecturer in Anthropology. Her research interests include meaning in life, motivation, life choices, wellbeing, aging and the life course. She specializes in the anthropology of Japan, and her doctoral research examined the construction of meaning in life and the experience of aging among older people in Osaka.
Highlighting the capacity of narrative to shape everyday understandings and create coherence from seemingly unconnected events, this work sought to reveal how people come to envisage a good life for themselves while making sense of their life choices and decisions in relation to wider social or cultural expectations, such as balancing obligations to others and cultivating a sense of personal autonomy. A monograph based on this work, entitled Meaning in Life: Tales from Aging Japan, is forthcoming with University of Pennsylvania Press.
An ongoing research project, begun in 2013, examines practices of contemporary art production among a community of young avant-garde artists in the city of Osaka, focusing on the relationship between personal experiences of the creative process and wider issues of freedom and responsibility, motivation and uncertainty, ethics, and life purpose. Related current projects deal with hope and hopelessness in contemporary Japan, and anthropological approaches to happiness.