Changing the Structure of Inequality under Globalization: From the Perspective of East-Asian Experiences
Session organized by the Japan Sociological Society
In 2016, we witnessed anti-globalization movements that exclude refugees and
immigrants, such as the U.K. leaving the EU and Donald Trump, who advocates
“America first” and proposes strict restrictions against accepting immigrants, winning
the US presidential elections. This backlash could be the result of the majority of people
in these societies not sensing or perceiving enough benefits from globalizing the economy.
Thus, inequality continues to expand, particularly as the majority of working people do
not see any merit in globalizing the market but feel uncomfortable, and even consider it
unfair, to have to accept immigrants and compete with them in the labor market.
Globalization makes the market larger and encourages movement of money and people
beyond borders, but only a limited number of people seem to be able to enjoy the benefits
of such an economy. Accordingly, political backlash has occurred with the support of the
working and middle-class people who have shown serious disappointment with
The session will explore the ongoing socioeconomic problems related to globalization in association with changes in the structure of social inequalities in East Asia. Japan has suffered from an increase in
instability in employment represented by the growth of non-standard jobs since 2000,
and the increasing inflows of foreign workers to South Korea and Taiwan are now a hot
social issue. China has continued to suffer from an increase in socioeconomic inequality
related to her economic growth. Speakers will examine how these social problems
have occurred, associated with the large changes in demographic and family structures
that these East Asian countries commonly experience.