Since the later half of the 1990s, lack of adaptability of children to the educational setting has been explained through the new medical category of “developmental disabilities.” In this paper, medical intervention is conceived of as “medicalization, ” and the educational setting is focused on and inspected. In particular, the paper focuses on “developmental disabilities” as a medical diagnosis characterized by uncertainty, situational dependence and feelings of resistance toward labeling, and clarifies how these characteristics are interpreted in the educational setting. Section 1 reviews previous studies that look critically at the elements of medicalization, pointing out the characteristics and problems of “developmental disabilities” as medicalization.(1) The elements of “developmental disabilities” are vague despite the fact that they are medical concepts, and consequently there is a lack of scientific grounds, standardized tests and treatment. This enables interpretation by a diverse range of knowledge.(2) These disabilities function as a form of “risk management.” This study dynamically analyzes how these medical diagnoses are interpreted in the educational setting, with the aim to approach the reality of medicalization. Section 2 summarizes the research method which was used in the interview research of nine teachers. Section 3 examines medicalization in children, first from the viewpoint of responsibility and the role and position of children. The viewpoint of medical treatment has made rapid advances through the intervention of institutionalized medicine. Medical labeling exempts parents and teachers from responsibility, based on the assumption that the problem is a “disability.” In this way, the children are obliged to play the “sick role.” Parents and teachers sometimes display feelings of rejection or resistance toward medical labeling. In addition, uncertainty regarding the cause of the “developmental disability” creates difficulties in medical practice. However, the feelings of rejection and the medical uncertainty can be minimized by medical practice and interpretation in the educational setting.
The purpose of this paper is to describe and interpret interviews with persons who regard themselves as “hikikomori, ” and to point out the negative effects, especially for such individuals, caused by the confusion of the concepts of “hikikomori” with “NEETs.” “Hikikomori, ” which refers to youth in a state of social withdrawal, has been noted since the latter half of the 1990s in Japan. In recent years, the concept of “NEETs” has also come to attract attention. “NEETs” refers to young people who are “not in education, employment, or training.” The concept of “hikikomori” has been partly incorporated into discussions about “NEETs, ” and it is commonly said that the two can be discussed in the same context. Moreover, some organizations dealing with “hikikomori” have started to support “NEETs.” However the understanding of “hikikomori” that has accumulated may be distorted by the confusion between the two concepts. Moreover, this confusion has a direct effect on individuals who consider themselves to be “hikikomori.” Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish the two concepts. Based on this perspective, the author describes and interprets interviews with such individuals, and points out the problems of providing support for “hikikomori” sufferers within the concept of “NEETs”. The interviewed revealed the following facts. People who consider themselves to be “hikikomori” see themselves as inferior and withdraw from relationships with others because though they have difficulty working, they worry excessively that “working is the natural state for an adult.” Their self-esteem cannot be restored immediately even if they participate in a self-help group. Informants re-construct stories about themselves and their lives and come to see the norm of life-courses in relative terms, and regain self-esteem from this. However, this can lead to a decline in their motivation to start working. Moreover, informants cannot overcome their distrust and fear of society. Therefore, sufferers of “hikikomori” seek a new way of life as they again ask themselves various questions, such as, “why must we work?” “What do I want to do?” “Who am I?” and so on. As they think through these questions, they resolve to make a fresh start. This process of struggle is in essence the process of recovery from “hikikomori.” Current measures for “NEETs, ” are based on the idea that it is more important to start working than to think too much about the meaning of working. However, individuals suffering from “hikikomori” have regained their self-esteem by asking the various questions concerning working and their own lives. Therefore, it is likely that the confusion of the two concepts will not only deprive people suffering from “hikikomori” of the opportunity for recovery but will also lead them to abandon their own efforts voluntarily.
Studies in the sociology of education have not paid sufficient attention to the social effects of intergenerational academic background mobility. Intergenerational academic background mobility means the change between an individual's academic background and that of his/her father. This paper examines support for redistribution to clarify the effect. Using the integrated data of JGSS-2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, the author finds that college graduates whose fathers are also college graduates tend to not support redistribution compared to college graduates whose fathers are graduates from compulsory education alone. This means that intergenerational academic background mobility has a gap-widening effect. People who receive an advantage by the fact that their own fathers are college graduates tend to not support redistribution, implying that the gap will continuously expand. The policy implication of this paper is that as the percent of students pursuing higher education increases, people who tend to not support redistribution will also increase. It is possible, thus, that it will become more difficult for policy makers to implement redistribution policies.
One premise of studies on the Japanese university participation rate is that there have been three stages: expansion, stagnation, and re-expansion. A second premise is the prefecture is used as the unit to determine whether students have moved upon entrance to university. However, the prefecture as a measurement unit does not always coincide with the zone from which students can attend university from home, or “the hometown.” Therefore, using data from the “Student Life Survey” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, this study directly measures the ratio of members of the 18-yearold cohort who entered university from home, and the ratio of those living away from home (1968-1998). In this paper, the former is called the university participation rate from home, and the latter the university participation rate from away from home. The finding is that for girls, the university participation rate from home has risen fairly consistently. This is important knowledge for the first premise of studies on the university participation rate. It appears that the reason why preceding studies have not given a successful explanation of the university participation rate of girls based on economic variables, whereas that of boys has been successfully explained, is because the cost of movement has not been considered. Therefore, this study confirms the effect of the cost of movement, and clarifies the difference of the determining factors of the university participation rate from home according to gender or university location. Furthermore, this study confirms a difference between girls and boys for each economic variable effect including the movement cost effect aftercontrolling for factors peculiar to university location. The results are that the limiting conditions are more sensitive in large cities than in rural areas, and that girls are more sensitive to the limiting conditions than boys when controlling for the factor peculiar to the area. This suggests the reproduction of the composition where “girls remain in the local area, and boys move out.”
Since 1976, the application rate of high school students for university has remained level at around fifty percent, and this seems to have contributed to the excess supply of higher education caused by the demographic decline. However, previous research has not clarified the reason why students do not go on to university despite the ease if access. This paper examines the extent to which economic factors underlie the stabilization of the application rate at 50%, through an analysis of the determinants of entrance rates for senmon gakko (technical schools) and employment rates after high school graduation from 1970 to 2004. The results of the analysis of the obvious demand factors indicate that household income has a strong positive impact, the price of private university tuition has a negative impact, and the unemployment rate has a positive impact on the application rate. Statistically, these results are weak, as they have a low value on the D. W. criteria, so the author uses the chow test approach to this problem solving. The test shows that there are structural changes in the trend of the determinants factor of the application rate during three decades, meaning that it would be better to divide it into three period times, 1970-1975, 1976-1996 and 1997-2004. In the first period, household income increases demand withoutan influence from price, and in the second period there was a positive effect of income, negative effect of price, and positive effect of the unemployment rate. In the third period, only unemployment had an impact, and there was no effect of income and price. It is possible to understand the leveling off of demand for higher education by considering household budget conditions, the rapid price increases since 1975, and in particular the high unemployment rate since 1997. However, the demand for higher education is actually higher than the application rate, since there are students who find employment or go to technical schools as a substitute for going to university. In order to consider this latent demand for higher education, an analysis of the determinants of the employment rate and entrance rate for technical schools is introduced. This analysis shows that there are individuals who find employment instead of going to university for the reason of the high price, and who go to technical schools for the reason of the high prices and low acceptance rate for entrance examinations. This result indicates that, considering this latent demand, the demand for higher education is larger than that indicated by the application rate. One policy implication of this study is that the application rate will increase in the near future as the economic recovery makes the latent demand obvious. Second, since there is still inequality of educational opportunities, low tuition and student aid should be introduced to equalize enrollment difference based on family income.
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the formation of groups in kindergarten and the process of gender identification by children through their kindergarten life. In the field of sociology of education in Japan, there have been some studies on the process of gender identification. However, they have focused on the intensification process of gender categories, but tended to ignore the trigger that leads children to recognize their own “correct” gender, and how they do so. The author observed this process at a private kindergarten in Kanagawa, Japan, from April to October 2005. The author observed 31 children, aged from three to four years old, in two classes. The author carried out a pseudo-experiment in this kindergarten. In this experiment, the criteria of gender identification was conceptualized by using the discussion of “appel”(roll call) following the theory of Althusser. In other words, the observer counted the number of children who responded when the kindergarten teachers called out to them using the category of onnanoko (girls) or otokonoko (boys), and recorded the results periodically. It was found that once a homogeneous sexual group was formed in a class, the children's gender identification process was accelerated. In addition, the time of gender identification influenced by the peer group differed between the two classes. The latter finding shows that the process of gender identification is not only dependent on the child's own development process, or the home environment, but is also dependent on the kindergarten's peer group activities.