Discourse Analysis of Drug-Induced Sufferings in Japan

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 12:30
Oral Presentation
Akihiko SATO, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
“Drug-induced sufferings (DISs)” is a term to refer to medical, pharmaceutical, and social problems in Japan. The original Japanese word is “Yakugai” which refers to serious troubles caused by medicines or any other medical materials such as Thalidomide, Quinoform, blood products contaminated with HIV. The word “DISs” became popular and has been used in mass media since 1970s, whereas the meaning of it is still ambiguous. Such ambiguity sometimes causes troubles even today especially when discussing advocacy for victims of DISs.

The purpose of the paper is analyzing the discourses of DISs to clarify the historical change of the meanings of it and prove the contemporary meaning along with people’s usage of the word. The paper adopted Discourse Analysis that has developed in UK (e.g., Potter and Wetherell 1987) in order to analyze almost all DISs discourses that can be found in the news papers and magazines, the academic journals, the minutes of the National Diet, the books that discussed about DISs, and the autobiographies by victims.

The result was that four interpretative repertoires were identified: Causality repertoire, Responsibility repertoire, Structuralism repertoire, and Solidarism repertoire. People including medical doctors, lawyers, journalists and even sociologists have used the first three repertoires to construct their temporal versions of DISs, depending on the contexts. The victims of DISs have also used these three repertoires to describe their experiences, however only victims have used the last repertoire to express how they have been suffering from social exclusion.

We can well understand with these four repertoires the reason why and the process whereby the debates and the institutions on DISs in Japan have been organized. The existence of them indicates that DISs are not just impairments and physical troubles caused by the adverse reactions, but social sufferings with social exclusion and disability.