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Envisioning the Family, Enacting the Family: Research on Young Adults' Views on Possibilities for Families in the 2000s

Sun, June 26, 3:00 to 4:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: BF, 011

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel brings together the work of four socio-cultural anthropologists, each of whom has done qualitative studies on the contemporary family in Japan. In recent years, one could argue, the construct of the ‘breadwinner’ salaryman and his ‘professional housewife’ has come under assault, as Japan has suffered a lasting recessionary economy, a low birthrate, very rapid aging, low marriage and less marriage, and divorce rates approaching those of other post-industrial societies. Given this state of affairs, how do young adults envision their families as they forge life paths? Is having a family an opportunity or a risk (Giddens, 2014)? What are the parameters for innovations in the notions of what ‘family’ can or should be? These papers, all based on recent field research, will attempt to answer these questions. Cook takes male irregular workers as her purview. Nagy’s study of Western males teaching English in Tokyo looks at the topic from the viewpoint of mobility studies. Alexy’s base of inquiry is new models for post-divorce parenting. Roberts will discuss young adults’ concepts of readiness and gendered gaps in visions of family. We expect that our discussant, Sawako Shirahase, a sociologist, will offer constructive critiques from the macro-perspective.

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