Office Ladies and Salaried Men: Power, Gender, and Work in Japanese Companies / Edition 1

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Overview

In large corporations in Japan, much of the clerical work is carried out by young women known as "office ladies" (OLs) or "flowers of the workplace." Largely nameless, OLs serve tea to the men and type and file their reports. They are exempt from the traditional lifetime employment and have few opportunities for promotion. In this engaging ethnography, Yuko Ogasawara exposes the ways that these women resist men's power, and why the men, despite their exclusive command of authority, often subject themselves to the women's control. Ogasawara, a Japanese sociologist trained in the United States, skillfully mines perceptive participant-observation analyses and numerous interviews to outline the tensions and humiliations of OL work. She details the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that OLs who are frustrated by demeaning, dead- jobs thwart their managers and subvert the power structure to their advantage. Using gossip, outright work refusal, and public gift-giving as manipulative strategies, they can ultimately make or break the careers of the men. This intimate and absorbing analysis illustrates how the relationships between women and work, and women and men, are far more complex than the previous literature has shown.

Author Biography: YukoOgasawara is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Edogawa University.

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What People Are Saying

Merry White
"Ogasawara treats women office workers not only as oppressed but as active players who express their dissatisfaction in highly nuanced public ways....She slashes and burns a lot of old chestnut stereotypes about men, women, and work in Japan. A wonderful book." -- Author of The material Child
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520210448
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Yuko Ogasawara is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Edogawa University.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Japanese Labor Market and Office Ladies 17
2 Why Office Ladies Do Not Organize 44
3 Gossip 70
4 Popularity Poll 98
5 Acts of Resistance 114
6 Men Curry Favor with Women 139
Conclusion 155
Appendix A: Data and Methods 169
App. B Profiles of Sarariman and Office Ladies Interviewed 178
App. C Profiles of Fifteen Office Ladies at Tozai Bank 182
App. D Profiles of Interviewees on Valentine's Day Gift-Giving 183
App. E Summary of Telephone Interviews with Sarariman Wives Regarding White Day 185
Notes 187
Glossary 201
References 203
Index 213
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