Narratives of adulthood in contemporary Japan
Focusing on the move from gakusei ‘student’ to shakaijin ‘working adult, lit. fully socialized adult’ during a period of continuing economic stagnation and social dislocation, the current study analyzes contemporary Japanese university students’ alignments with respect to ideologies surrounding adulthood including entering the job market and marriage. Data includes naturally occurring conversations with male and female students at a mid-high ranked city university on the outskirts of Yokohama as well as media materials associated with job-hunting practices. Analyzing individuals’ discursive (re)-framing of economic practice, this study demonstrates how individuals convey complex alignments towards future economic and social practices and their attendant ideologies. These complex alignments are analyzed as instances of ‘making do’ (de Certeau, 1984). Attending to subtle shifts in discursive (re)-framing, this paper demonstrates how micropolitical alignments are enacted in language at the level of everyday, ordinary practice.
Keywords: Japan, adulthood, gender, framing, indexicality, micropolitics
Published online: 18 June 2021
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