Lifelong Learning in Neoliberal Japan
Risk, Community, and Knowledge
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Explores the trend of lifelong learning in Japan as a means to deal with risk in a neoliberal era.
Akihiro Ogawa explores Japan's recent embrace of lifelong learning as a means by which a neoliberal state deals with risk. Lifelong learning has been heavily promoted by Japan's policymakers, and statistics find one-third of Japanese people engaged in some form of these activities. Activities that increase abilities and improve health help manage the insecurity that comes with Japan's new economic order and increased income disparity. Ogawa notes that the state attempts to integrate the divided and polarized Japanese population through a newly imagined collectivity, atarashii kōkyō or the New Public Commons, a concept that attempts to redefine the boundaries of moral responsibility between the state and the individual, with greater emphasis on the virtues of self-regulation. He discusses the history of lifelong learning in Japan, grassroots efforts to create an entrepreneurial self, community schools that also function as centers for problem solving, vocational education, and career education.
Akihiro Ogawa is Professor of Japanese Studies at the Asia Institute, the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of The Failure of Civil Society? The Third Sector and the State in Contemporary Japan, also published by SUNY Press.
"…a very readable book that never fails to remind us of the lived reality of the teachers, volunteers, social entrepreneurs, and the people they are helping cope with the changes that are ongoing in Japan's society and economy." — Journal of Japanese Studies
"…thought-provoking … Lifelong Learning in Neoliberal Japan is a thoroughly engrossing and, at times, unsettling account of one critical apparatus of neoliberalism in contemporary Japan … The book will be essential reading for anyone interested in neoliberal politics, risk and risk management, state-civil society relations, precarity, and the challenges of life in contemporary Japan." — Pacific Affairs