The problem of order in sociology refers to an inquiry made into the social mechanism used to mediate various conflicts. Whereas many theoretical studies have explored the diverse concepts of order, only a few have examined the concept of consensus as a major element of that order. This article, therefore, focuses on an analysis of “overlapping consensus” as proposed by the political philosopher John Rawls, namely the idea that free and equal moral citizens in a constitutional democratic society can reach a common consensus on their basic principles using diverse viewpoints, so that justice can establish long-term stability in that society. The purposes of this article are 1) to reconstruct Rawls's overlapping consensus into an ideal type of overlapping consensus and 2) to examine what conditions in a case study requires the overlapping consensus model.
The findings suggest that Rawls's overlapping consensus is typified as both a narrow and wide and thus, a wide overlapping consensus model can be used to analyze the problem of order. First, overlapping consensus presumes two types of reflective equilibrium, that is, the coherence of ethical judgments for different levels of generalities, so that the overlapping consensuses are also classified as two types. Second, the wide overlapping consensus model requires particular conditions, namely the avoidance of any conflicts of interest, the procedure of equal opportunity, the plurality of moral citizens, the identification of common values, coherence of the data, basic principles and background theories, and the long-term stability of these principles.
Recently, with increasing attention focused on children's rights, assuring “individuality” for children in social care has become important in Japan. Specifically, there is a strong emphasis on making childcare facilities be like home. This paper aims to examine the validity of the home as an ideal model for residential childcare.
First, after reviewing debates on the home as an ideal model of residential childcare and the criticisms of family sociologists, this paper shows the effectiveness of articulating the notion of individuality. Second, this paper indicates the validity of setting up children's self-reliance support facility Z, and explains the methods of investigation. Third, the data collected are analyzed. It was found that under the group-living conditions in Z, some aspects of individuality were certainly infringed upon; however, care functions that could not be accomplished at home were achieved. Based on this evidence, this paper claims that regarding the home as an ideal model of residential childcare has three problems: (1) It conceals caretakers' difficulties at home, (2) it prevents the correction of gaps among children, and (3) it veils the diverse method of childcare except a way that few caretakers care for a few children. In conclusion, this paper discusses the possibility of overcoming the problems of residential childcare by deploying additional staff members, and claims that the idea that home is the ideal place of care is not necessarily valid.
Alfred Schutz argued in Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt (1932) that the “We-relationship,” as the most fundamental layer in the social world, is based on the “simultaneity” of the I and Thou, and that “we grow older together” in such simultaneity. The aim of this paper is to examine the simultaneity Schutz argued by referring to his theory of inner time and descriptions of cases in which simultaneity occurs in concrete social relations, and then to investigate the problems and possibilities for sociological theories of time.
Previous studies have pointed out problems with Schutz's theory of simultaneity, these mainly related to dualistic elements. In another view, Schutz's conception in a statement such as “the intersubjectivity is a datum” is regarded as a knowledge gain in that Schutz begins to describe social relations by disregarding such problems. However, another problematic element of simultaneity is found in Schutz's theory when seriously considering the problems in Bergsonian and Husserlian concepts, which Schutz has overlooked. This is the problem of “temporality” connected with simultaneity exceeding mere instantaneity and presentness. In fact, Schutz has dealt with simultaneity as “growing older together,” but has not thematized the problem of temporality in simultaneity. This paper especially points out the difference between two kinds of simultaneity, which Schutz has confused, and then derives a view to conceive growing older together as sharing an “idealized temporality.” Finally, this paper seeks to provide an answer for the abovementioned dualistic elements and show the possibilities for relating Schutz's theory of simultaneity to wider sociological discussions and theories of time.
This paper aims to analyze tendencies and differences in imagined conditions of the “Japanese” as a national identity among Japanese people by employing Boolean social category analysis, which was first proposed by Ishida (2007). To capture people's imagined conditions of the Japanese in detail, I conducted an Internet survey with 2,000 respondents in 2013. In this survey, I employed 16 types of vignette questionnaires that described typical combinations of conditions relevant to national identity—nationality, resident, blood, and language—and asked respondents to judge whether a person with a certain combination of conditions is regarded as Japanese or not. In the paper, the relevance between types of imagined conditions as well as demographic and socio-economic status is analyzed.
The research yielded the following findings. First, the analysis of aggregated images of the Japanese revealed the condition of blood as necessary, which probably reflects jus sanguinis in Japanese nationality law. Second, in terms of the relationship between attitudes of nationalism or anti-foreignism and images of the Japanese, I identified strong relationships between national pride and “inclusion by blood,” anti-foreignism and “exclusion by blood,” and assimilation and “exclusion by culture.” Third, there are various individual images of the Japanese. Among these individual images, there are two directions of expansion of the common core image: expansion in terms of nationality and expansion in terms of blood. As a result of logistic regression analysis, I found that contact experience with foreigners in a community as well as demographic and socio-economic status relevant to tolerance of foreigners enhance the possibility of nationality-expanded images and decrease that of blood-expanded images of the Japanese.
Since patients who use assisted reproductive medicine can easily acquire much scientific information, they are greatly influenced by professional scientific knowledge available from the media. It is this knowledge that causes the barrier between experts and laypersons to crumble. This paper discusses the influence of an increase in scientific knowledge and popular media on patients currently undergoing assisted reproductive medicine. According to interview data from 11 informants, these patients gathered scientific knowledge in distinct stages. At the beginning of their treatment, the patients collected basic information from medical professionals, acquaintances, books, magazines, and websites. By the time of high-degree therapy, they had acquired sufficient knowledge required by an individual to understand the procedure of assisted reproductive medicine. Moreover, the informants created a standardized protocol for the treatment course while increasing their scientific comprehension. However, during protracted treatment the informants' ceased gathering further information, and assumed the role of “lay-patients” in front of the doctor. While patients continue to increase their scientific knowledge, they begin to experience uncertainty about assisted reproductive medicine. As a result, patients come to understand experientially that a grasp of technicalities is not necessary for achieving pregnancy. Thus, despite of having relevant information, they behave as if no previous scientific knowledge was available, and they assess the behavior of the doctor under this pretext. Patients aiming at pregnancy use such unique expertise acquired from various media and their experiences.
In Japan, the increasing number of young people experiencing crisis in transition is constantly highlighted in many studies since the early 2000s. These young people tend to experience reduction or localization of social networks, resulting in limited access to social capital. The significance of public youth support institutions, launched in the 2000s, is repeatedly stressed. However, these services have not yet been strategically examined to overcome the difficulties of social networking. This study analyzes Regional Youth Support Stations (RYSS) to examine similar strategies.
According to Lin (2001-2008), social interactions form the basis of access to social capital, and can be categorized as homophilous or heterophilous interactions. This study identifies two types of difficulties for both constrained access to heterophilous interactions (hereafter abbreviated [A]) and instrumental limitations of homophilous interactions (hereafter abbreviated [B]). RYSS strategies are analyzed based on how these institutions address [A] and [B] through the services they provide.
[A] is addressed through outreach services provided by Connexions Service, an important precedent for RYSS and partly adopted by it. However, the examination of strategic changes at a local RYSS agency in this study indicated that some young people still hesitate in forthcoming heterophilous interactions despite overcoming the first [A] through their interactions with RYSS personnel. Interactions with young people facing similar situations effectively address the problem, because they convince their own resources through the interactions. Personnel advise young people by showing them different perspectives and providing new resources for future heterophilous interactions with others who were involved in their status attainment, thus supplementing [B]. This study examines how both heterophilous and homophilous interactions play complementary roles in supporting young people experiencing crisis in transition.