Educational Studies in Japan
Online ISSN : 2187-5286
Print ISSN : 1881-4832
ISSN-L : 1881-4832
Why is Educationalization Ubiquitous but Marginal in Japan?: A Consideration on a Different Background of School Reforms
Ichiro Kuraishi
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2021 Volume 15 Pages 83-94


The concept of educationalization refers to the government's tendency to impose heavy responsibilities to solve social problems on the school system. In this paper, after briefly reviewing the concept of educationalization, I will show that it is a ubiquitous phenomenon in contemporary Japan through three cases. This will prove that school reforms intended to fix social problems are poorly resourced and powerless to change schools in general. This stagnation is due to (1) immature professionalism in educators, (2) loss of motivation for “conspicuous consumption”, and (3) the absence of ideals, beliefs, and values to be expressed in school reform. Elsewhere, another series of school reforms are much favored, well-funded and powerful in Japan. After posing anti-ijime policies as the best example, I describe and analyze the background of this type by introducing the concept of “officialization of school problems”. Strongly supported by school consumers, it has successfully received a hegemonic position. However, under the hegemony the relation between school and environment is over-simplified by the logic of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism. After comparing both types, we find a modest utility of educationalization: it could interrupt the perpetuation of hegemonic ideologies and make it possible to see the outer world in its complicated reality.

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© 2021 Japanese Educational Research Association
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