Counter Hegemonic Discourse on New Poor in Japan in 2000s – a Case Study of Two Indie-Magazines

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 62
Oral Presentation
Minjoo LEE , University of Tokyo, Japan
Along with the collapse of bubble economy and following extended economic depression since 1990s, people who failed to labor – or people who could be no longer explained by labor as it was – appeared in Japanese society.  They were working-poor, net-café refugees, and others who felt into “new poverty.” The emergence of “new poor” who were unidentifiable but already everywhere alarmed the entire society where poverty had been believed to be eradicated with its dramatic economic growth, and provided a chance to reconsider and discuss “new poverty.” This study aims to investigate two discursive struggles by the young new poor who attempted to produce new discursive counter publics on “new poverty/poor.” In order to do so, two Japanese indie magazines – Freeter’s Free(2007-2008) and Lost Gene(2008-2010) – are analyzed using textual analysis and interviews with editors and contributors, focusing on their strategies in terms of their contents, narratives, styles-genres, the relationship between contributors, editors and readership and etc. In these two indie magazines, the young new poor attempted to problematize public discourses on them and to produce counter-hegemonic discourse by unfolding and re-appropriating their own experience. Moreover, these magazines provided (counter-) publics where the young new poor could reach to self-acceptance escaping from self-denial and collectively search for alternative ways of life without being captured by neo-liberal capitalism. In this process, the young new poor – not only readers but also contributors and editors – re-identify their subjectivities as laborers, political subjects, and young generation who are situated in the very middle of the social contradictions produced by late capitalism. In addition, this study explores their alternative ways of publishing as a media movement that created and managed their publishing groups as a collective social enterprise and thus struggled to cross boundaries between discursive and real practices.