In Japan during the 1940s, paid work for running the Sanatoria for Hansen's disease was shared by the patient-residents. This was a necessity resulting from deprivation caused by the war effort. A half-century later, the patients were compensated for this work as unacceptable forced labor. However, the meaning and function of some voluntary paid labor is often missed. Jobs in production and distribution of farm products, craft labor and administration were created. The patients administered these through a financially independent patient organization that was established to provide for the welfare of the weaker residents through mutual help. This self-managed and well-run organization was quite visible and it gave a sense of belongingness to all of the residents regardless of their work ability.
According to Adorno, “identity thinking” is the predominant mode of thinking in modern society. In this mode, the “subject” controls “others” through “instrumental reason”. Adorno claims that the modern form of violence derives from the subject's mastery over the “object”. Adorno defends the “non-identity thinking” and “non-identifiable” thing against “identity thinking”. From this perspective, Adorno criticizes “positivism” in which “concepts” retain control over “objects.” On the other hand, Adorno emphasizes that the “concept” has potentiality to grasp the essence of “non-identifiable” thing. There can be no thinking without conceptions. The purpose of this paper is to consider the dualism of Adorno's thesis on the “concept”. While the concept is the “object” of criticalness, it is also the “medium” of thinking in critical theory. I would analyze Adorno's argument about the “concept” and examine his ambiguous attitude toward “modern reason”.
This paper describes how sociology contributes to a discussion of localization issues of Japanese companies in Asia. Many management studies so far have given attention to issues related to localization of Japanese companies abroad. However, most of them focus on the number of “Japanese presidents” in subsidiaries. These studies lack perspective on the roles of long-term local service managers. This paper explores the possibility of a sociological contribution to the issue of localization of Japanese companies abroad by a combination of three approaches. These include an inter-cultural communication approach, comparative cultural approach and the localization approach. In doing so, this paper posits the importance of paying attention to the roles and perspectives of local managers who have been working in Japanese companies for an extended number of years.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between society and community-based arts projects in recent years. Since the 1990s, community-based art projects have been increasing in number in Japan. For example, “Museum City Project” since 1990, “Toride Art Project” since 1999, “Beppu International Art Festival: Mixed Bathing World” since 2009; these are only a sample of the recent surge of those projects. These projects tend to focus on “Socially Engaged Art” activities such as collaboration with the public and direct engagement with specific social issues. The paper provides perspective on how arts and society are inter-connected in these projects, with reference to the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial that has been in existence since 2000 and also discusses what is necessary to gain a good balance in the relationship between society and community based-arts projects.
This study aims to shed light on the hidden dependence inherent in the process of “reflexive ageing” a style of ageing peculiar to the present society that forces people to be subjective and independent. Even in old age, when people need to depend on others, they want to be independent, only to fail. Through revealing mechanism in which people forget their own dependence, the author explores a new type of the relationship between the self and others.
Thirty years have passed since China began to reform and open its door to the Western world. In this span striking changes influenced by the global economy have occurred. In 2001 the Chinese Central Government expressed an affirmative attitude toward a new social group referred to as the “middle class” by many. Various images of the “middle class” have appeared in Chinese media. Many of these images are under the influence of foreign media texts, such as movies, TV dramas, advertisements, and books, etc. This article focuses on this phenomenon and analyzes why Chinese media tends to use foreign texts and how Chinese media chooses certain foreign images to construct the Chinese “middle class”. This report aims to clarify how the media has constructed images of the Chinese “middle class” in the global age. At the same time, this article will explore the transnational character of Chinese “middle class” media images.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the social meanings of the civic refugee protection movement called “church asylum” in contemporary Germany. As a result of the analysis, the following points became clear. Christians recognize the problem that current asylum system does not necessarily respect the subjective anxiety of individuals and judgments of refugee protection are not fairly made. Christians make an effort to conduct church asylum in public. They seek to appeal to ordinary citizens to inform them of the situation of refugee protection that is not well known and to make it open and legal. Christians also raise an important issue of “democratization of national borders”.
This paper attempts to demonstrate the concept of discursive psychology (DP) to study talk and texts. DP is an approach that takes discourse such as talk and texts and studies them as social practice. DP characterizes discourse as situated, action-oriented, and constructed. This paper focuses on the idea that discourse is situated and investigates the process of discourse analysis in Gilbert and Mulkay's work as an example. The conclusion is that DP focuses on how words appear to be coherently related. DP has utility in analyzing the effect of words to the flow in talk and texts.
This paper examines the politics of constructing a site of memory, the French national museum Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration that was inaugurated in 2007. In particular, it focuses on the debate pertaining to why and how to recognize the memory of immigration and immigrants in an array of the conflicting interests between the nation-state and civil society. Since a historian of immigration G. Noiriel claimed the necessity of creating a “site of memory” for immigration in 1988, actors such as historians, government officials, association leaders and immigrant individuals have been involved in the discourse of establishing this institution. The case study reveals that, while the government saw the utility of the project in reforming the immigration policy and reconstructing the national identity, the creation of the site gives a place for further debate on immigration, citizenship and the right to memory.
In this paper, we examine the motivation of Chinese foster parents for adopting the “Japanese war orphans left in China” as well as the reality of their lives and their feelings toward these orphans. The framework of the Life-Story methodology is employed in the present investigation. The term “Japanese war orphans left in China” refers to the Japanese children left behind in China as orphans by their parents repatriating to Japan in the aftermath of World War II. Some survived because they were adopted and reared by Chinese foster parents. Almost 90% of these orphans have returned and settled in Japan. In contemporary Japan, however, few people recognize the existence of the Chinese foster parents. The present investigation sheds light on the following aspects concerning these parents: why did they help the children belonging to their enemy country, what are their every-day lives, and what do they feel when they sent the orphans back to Japan.
This paper examines the significance of the re-definition of “zest for living (ikiru chikara)” focusing on how the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) used the results of international academic assessments to justify a change in education policy. By redefining the “zest for living”, MEXT was able to allege a consistency of policy ideals despite a substantive policy change from relaxed (yutori) education to competitive education. Thus the re-definition of “zest for living” is important to MEXT. This paper shows that the validity of maintaining the ideal of “zest for living” (through the re-definition) depends on differential use by MEXT of the national results of two international assessments (PISA2003 and TIMMS2003).
The purpose of this article is to examine the trace of the popular cultural studies of Tsurumi Shunsuke. In late 1940s, Tsurumi started popular cultural studies based on scientific methodologies to go beyond the philosophy and philosophical language that had prevailed in wartime Japan and to produce results useful to people. In early 1960s, this scientific-theoretical approach to popular culture was transformed into a practical one to transcend the distance between intellectuals and the people. However, this second approach proved impossible in the face of the appearance of technological-poetical discursive formations in late 1960s. This result indicates the historical limits of Tsurumi's everyday thought.
In 1993, the Japan Epilepsy Association criticized Tsutsui Yasutaka's novel “Robot Police” as discriminatory to epileptics, and sought to have it from a textbook published by Kadokawa Publishing. In response to the criticism, he declared a “Writing Strike” and appealed for freedom of expression. This declaration drew public attention, and raised a storm of controversy. The aim of this paper is to explicate the divergence of problem setting in the controversy. First, I will show that the declaration was situated in the context of victim contest. Then, I will demonstrate that the context was prepared through the shift of roles in the early stages of the controversy. Finally, I will present a rhetorical analysis of how the shift of roles occurred in the responsive context of the controversy.
This paper critically examines studies on Japan's urban ethnicity, focusing on the limits of the Chicago paradigm dominating this field. The defects of the Chicago school involve disregard of structural and institutional factors such as the state and the market. The disregard of the state apparatus results in overlooking the securitization of migration in the last decade. In addition, the lack of labor market analysis leads to a superficial understanding of migrant communities. The author suggests two alternative approaches that make full use of legacies of urban sociology: (a) bringing the state and market back in by way of the new urban sociology and (b) uniting subfields of urban sociology with the notions of space and place.
The purpose of this paper is to connect the studies of the mirror neuron system to the concept of reflexivity put forward by Anthony Giddens. The human mirror neuron system has been regarded as significant for learning, empathy and reflective self-awareness. In Giddens's theory, although many arguments have been made on the characteristics of reflexivity in post-traditional society, little attention is given to the origin of reflexivity. This article will consider the mirror neuron as the origin and offer biological evidence of reflexivity. This paper also deals with the controversy surrounding sociobiology and the current state of behavioral economics and evolutionary politics. The “blank slate” and “homo economicus” that social scientists have assumed are challenged by evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, primatology and brain research. The link between mirror neuron and reflexivity will bring a new insight to these trends.
This paper aims to explore the logic of cultural practice in contemporary society by critically re-examining Bourdieu's concept of habitus. Bourdieu presumes habitus of classes as general and transposable, that which unifies varied cultural practices. But, taking seriously the existence of cultural ominivores into account, we need to reconsider his formula. In terms of its socio-historical conditions, Lahire comprehends the social actor as incorporating heterogeneous and even contradictory dispositions at the level of “habitus of individuals”. This framework will contribute to escaping the caricature of the social world seen in Bourdieu and allow the analysis of multiple cultural practices.
Gay identity and gay community are both central topics in gay studies and queer studies. However, the relationship between them remains unquestioned. This paper reveals how the relationship between gay identity and gay community has been shifted from the 90's to the present based on an analysis of discourses on coming-out. Coming-out in the 90's included three important elements: aspiration for making a good relationship, high self-reflexivity and entry into the gay community. However, the latter two elements have disappeared and the meaning of coming-out has shifted. This shift demonstrates that the relationship between gay identity and gay community has become more and more irrelevant and independent.
This paper examined how the life-course perception of women students has changed during this decade particularly due to the influence of socio-economic conditions. Using survey data from students at seven universities performed in 1997, 2003, and 2007, life-course perception changes in women students were examined and compared. The results are as follows: 1) The life-course perception of women students shifts from a work-oriented focus to one of desire for a home-oriented lifestyle in 2007 when compared to 1997 and 2003. 2) Even if the major contributing variables, such as university, department, and educational background of parents, are controlled, a rise in the desire for a home-oriented lifestyle is still observable. In 2007, the Japanese economy was in a comparable condition to 1997 and 2003, with a high rate of employment of graduating university students. Surprisingly however, the phenomenon in which women students' life-course perception changed from one of “work-oriented” to “home-oriented” has occurred.