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Doing lone motherhood in Japan: the 'project of self in a precariously transforming society

Nagano, Ami (2008) Doing lone motherhood in Japan: the 'project of self in a precariously transforming society. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis explores the position and situation of lone mothers in Japan via a multi-scalar analysis, involving the consideration of public policy discourses, street level state bureaucracy, and experiences of lone mothers. It offers a rich account of practices of lone motherhood and the Japanese state, changing state policies, and social and economic change in Japan. The study draws on the empirical work with lone mothers and frontline welfare workers in J^an, which is balanced with extensive theoretical reflections and critically reflexive analysis of pubic policy discourses. A feminist perspective informs and enriches the analysis throughout. The thesis unveils the 'minimalist state' of Japan that lingers behind the front-screen renewal efforts of the Japanese state that recently involved eye-catching calls for a 'gender-equal society' (Danjyo Kyodo Sankaku Shakai) and universalisation of welfare. On the cusp of precariously modernising Japan are the frontline welfare workers who both struggle to enact and refract progressive policies, and lone mothers who face scripted normality that is coined by a policy trend that emphasises "differences should make no difference" without matching structural redress. The thesis shows lone mothers are faced with both the traditional and detraditionalising pressures of 'doing the self - as a 'good mother' and gender norm deviator, that is, the stigmatised self, as well as a self that is a reflexive endeavour. The thesis presents an innovative geographical enquiry into problems of lone mothers in Japan. A variety of geographic accounts are signposted that could be developed to reflect the various intersecting scales and topics that unfold in the thesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:28

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