‘the Reinvention of the Traditional' in the Post-Traditional Societies — an Essay on Encouragement of ‘Dependence'

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Eiji GON , Faculty of Policy Information, Chiba University of Commerce, Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan
The theory of reflexive modernization led by A.Giddens and U.Beck characterizes the present societies as the post-traditional societies where traditions have been taken down thoroughly. They assume that the human relationships defined according to the traditions should be replaced by individuals and the expert systems, both of which are indispensable for the most important theses of the post-traditional societies; choices and decisions. In fact, since 1990s the norms for families, communities and jobs have been disappearing in Japan.

The expert systems as the alternative to the tradition, however, don’t fully function. There people are to make ‘free’ decisions any time, and they are forced to be ‘free and independent decision-makers’ ambivalently. Individuals can’t build the social relationships that used to be mediated by the traditions, especially interdependent relationships. The author argued before that in the present societies individuals refuse ‘dependence’ which should be inevitable social relationship especially in the old age, and with that refusal they necessarily fail to be independent.

People burdened heavily are now starting to seek for the norm to support their daily lives and the groups to belong; nostalgism for the traditions, rise of exclusive nationalism, sympathy for the cults or any fundamentalistic ideas. We can’t dismiss these as reactionary and out of date. These requirements simply show that ‘free and independent lives based exclusively on choices and decisions’ are impossible. They ask for ‘the traditional’ as a reference frame of decision-making.

We mustn’t let this movement slide into nostalgism. How can we respond to this requirement for ‘the reinvention of the traditional’? In this study, we take the argument over ‘care’ in Japan and discuss the logic that positively encourages ‘dependence’ on others. Rebuilding new social relationship including ‘dependence’ might be the first step to ‘the reinvention of the traditional’ in the post-traditional societies.