Comparing "Harmful Publication" Issue With "Non-Existent Youth" Issue: From a Perspective Of Natural History Model Of Social Problems

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 3:47 PM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Manabu AKAGAWA , Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Joel Best suggests in Social Problems(2008) that a social problem has a cycle of concern. Concern increases until it reaches a peak, then interest falls off. In Japan, youth issues including revision of juvenile law, youth bashing, counter measures for low birth rates, and regulation of pornocomics for juveniles have cycles of concerns (also see Goodman, Imoto, Toivonen(2012)). This work focuses on the social problem process of the regulation of pornocomics for juveniles, which become prevalent every five or six years. It especially compares "harmful publication" issues in the 1990s with "non-existent youth" issues in the 2010s, then investigates process in which concerns for the issue were differently constructed and developed.

 The Tokyo Juvenile Sound Upbringing Ordinance was first enacted in 1964, and revised in 1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2010. Once a book is categorized as a "harmful publication" by the authority, sale for juveniles is strictly prohibited. Every time it was revised, regulations have become stricter. This work explores the difference between the construction in the 1990s and in the 2010s by utilising natural history model proposed by Joel Best, (which consists of claims-making, media coverage, policy-making, public reaction, social problem work and policy outcomes)  and proposes two concepts: "top-down" natural history model and "path-dependency" of a social problem. Both help us improve a natural history model which is applicable to non-western societies' social problem process.

 This work assumes that a "top-down" natural history model in contrast with "bottom-up" one can give us better understanding of youth issues in  Japan, and the concept, “path-dependency” of a social problem, which means brand-new claims-making activities take place in condition that they are affected by previous controversies and its past backgrounds, helps us explain how and why claims-making or policy-making have different courses and their own unique histories.