Japanese Reflexivity and Japanese Society
Reflexivity is the concept of reflecting on oneself in the presence of others, and changing oneself in relation to others. By repeating this feedback process, the agent changes who he/she is.
Scott Lash and John Urry criticize the reflexive modernization theory of Beck and Giddens, as they presuppose that reflexivity is essentially cognitive and institutional. Lash draws attention to the aesthetic dimension of reflexivity over the cognitive. He insists capitalism opens up possibilities for, not only cognitive but also, aesthetic reflexivity. This can be seen in the expressive individualism in contemporary consumer capitalism. He also discusses hermeneutic reflexivity. In addition, I suggest that including other senses, emotions, and consumer behavior etc., new reflexivities can be born and transform in and through markets, which I call market reflexivity.
Lash and Urry discuss Japanese systems that involve collective reflexivity. The strong ties of Japanese obligational contracting involve collective reflexivity in the sense of information-sharing, risk sharing and collective decision making. Collective reflexivity is so effective that the feeling of ‘Kuuki’ and ‘Sontaku’ – or, social bonding and meaning reproduced without discourse- are a dominant factor for decision making in Japanese society. Sometimes Japanese society and policies are changed without explicit discussion. Thus market reflexivity with collective reflexivity works very well in the Japanese market. In the global information society, market reflexivity with collective reflexivity will continue to change us ever more radically and quickly.
I conclude that it is important especially for the Japanese, to be conscious of market reflexivity and especially collective reflexivity in order to predict its future affects of our society and market.