Opium, known since ancient times as a powerful analgesic, became popular in Europeparticularly after the advent of Sydenham’s laudanum. By the nineteenth century,however, the European medical world considered it to be a dangerous drug. This paperaims to clarify by a socio-historical study this epistemological transformation processconcerning opium: from a magical remedy to an illegal drug. Three stages could beobserved in the regulation of the substance. The first problem of opium use was simplythe substance’s toxicity, which would be harmful to a person’s health or life. Secondly,addiction was considered to be damaging to society, that is, the long-term use of thisdrug would cause lethargy, resulting therefore in lower productivity from the work force.And thirdly, opium use was defined as a vice, which was caused by the psychologicalweakness of the addict himself. As a result, the opium addict has two faces: sick patient,and social deviant. French law has regulated opium selling since 1845, much earlier thanin England. But in fact, “opium-eaters” were few in number in France, where the drugwas an imported article. It was preventive policies proposed by disciples of public healththat enabled the regulation of this drug. Encouraged by the remarkable sanitary reformof that period, French hygienists, Fleury, Fonssagrives, Tardieu and others, regardedopium use as pathologic behavior or as inimical to social progress. In conclusion,future-directed thinking is a tacit condition of the bio-social norm’s function which iscalled normalization today.
Conservatives and conservative associations have attacked the 1999 Basic Law for aGender-equal Society, whose aim was to correct gender discrimination and the gendergap from 2000. Today, this force is called “Backlash”, and is supported by housewivesat the grassroots. Are these women opposed to gender equality, and if so, why? Thispaper explores the reason why some housewives join the backlash, and examinesgender politics in that backlash. For this purpose, we analyze conservative discoursein magazines, newsletters of various associations, and communication magazines ofgrassroots movements. As a result of the analysis, we find the following two points. Firstly, while abstractarguments that regard the family as the foundation of society and of the state accountfor the vast majority of articles, housewives however emphasize individual experiences,such as communication among family members, housekeeping and child-raising.Secondly, conservative female intellectuals are observed to have two facets, that ofthe intellectual, and that of the housewife. They describe the stories of their ownexperiences in the family as a housewife, and also discuss their value from the point ofview of society and state. In conclusion, we examine the internal politics of the backlash. There are conflictingopinions between housewives and the mainstream of the backlash about the familymodel. However, the two facets of conservative female intellectuals conceal the conflict,and assume a pseudo-continuity between housewives’ individual experiences andconservative discourse.
The purpose of this article is to suggest a “positivistic” methodology of oral historystudies. As is well known, there are said to be two main methodologies in oral historyresearch: positivist and constructivist. While positivist research tries to discoverhistorical/sociological facts of the past and the present, the constructivist approachfocuses on the interactional process of research and aims to write ‘ethnographies ofinterviews’ (Yamada, 2005). However, the constructivist approach seems to have two critical problems. If it focusesmerely on the interaction between interviewers and interviewees, there is no reasonto research any biography. If it advocates constructivism, then its presumption ofseparating ‘how’ and ‘what’ contradicts the principle of social constructivism. Moreover,by accepting multiple interpretations of past events, the approach opens itself tohistorical relativism, which endangers the very foundation of oral history studies. The ‘positivist’ approach, which is based on historical positivism, tries to write factsof the past and present as accurately as possible. Facts, for the ‘positivist’ approach,are what people tell, and the existence of the narrative itself. It does not separate ‘whathappened’ and ‘how it is narrated’; how it is narrated is also a present event, and even ifthe narrative is ‘false’, namely, different from the past event itself, the difference carriesmeaning, which tells us something more about ‘what happened’ and ‘what is happening’.Only by shifting our attention from story to history will sociological and historicalresearch be enabled.