Failure of Civil Society?: The Third Sector and the State in Contemporary Japan

Failure of Civil Society?: The Third Sector and the State in Contemporary Japan

by Akihiro Ogawa

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The global discourse on civil society is both complicated and enriched in this participant study of Japan's volunteers, known as the third sector. In the wake of the Japanese government's failed response to the 1995 earthquake, volunteers took the lead in providing aid to victims. This recent sea change in Japanese society was quickly followed by the 1998 NPO Law (nonprofit organization law) that encourages third sector activities. Drawing on his fieldwork at one of the new NPOs, Akihiro Ogawa explores in detail the social and historical particularities of Japanese "civil society" or shimin shakai, revisiting how the concept is interpreted and practiced by the volunteers themselves. Civil society, Ogawa argues, can best be understood as an active, dynamic process rather than as a static, abstract model.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791494035
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/18/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Akihiro Ogawa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at Stockholm University.

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Key Questions 1

Anthropology of Civil Society 7

Fieldwork 15

Action Research 18

Overview of Chapters 19

Chapter 2 Kawazoe 23

Landscape 23

Associational Life in Kawazoe 31

SLG's Entry into the Associational Landscape 44

Social Capital Argument 48

Chapter 3 NPO: A New Third Sector 51

SLG: An NPO Promoting Lifelong Learning 51

Activities Organized by Volunteers 57

Historical Background 71

"NPO-ization" Led by the Government 74

Response to the Government Proposal 77

On the Transition 83

Proper NPOs? 88

Chapter 4 Invited by the State 93

You Can Volunteer with a Single Finger! 93

Discourses of "Borantia" 95

Volunteers Invited by the State 97

Volunteering as Potential for Individualization? 101

Reproduction of Volunteer Subjectivity through Education 105

The Colonization of the Volunteering World 112

Chapter 5 Power and Contested Rationalities 117

Kyōdō: Policy Collaboration 117

A New Political Technique 119

Talks toward Kyōdō: A Japanese Case 123

Inside Discussion: Challenging the Defined Benefits 127

Distrust Accelerating between die Sides 131

Pushing Cost-Cutting Policy 134

Contested Rationalities: A Reality 137

Kyōdō: A Failed Attempt 141

Chapter 6 Shimin in Japanese Society 145

Shimin-A Genealogy 145

Shimin in the Early Postwar Era 147

Shimin under the NPO 155

Volunteer Subjectivity Revisited 161

NPO as an Agency in Neoliberalism 170

Shimin as Cultural Product in Neoliberalism 175

Chapter 7 Epilogue: Initiating Change 185

Research for Social Change 186

Establishingthe Field Site 187

Knowing My Field Site 190

Initiating Collaborative Inquiry 193

Taking Action 195

My Positionality 197

Appendices 203

Appendix 1 203

Appendix 2 209

Appendix 3 213

Notes 217

References 227

Japanese Glossary 255

Index 263

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