Demographic Change and the Family in Japan's Aging Society

SUNY Press
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A demographic and ethnographic exploration of how the aging Japanese society is affecting the family.

Incorporating qualitative and quantitative data and research methods from both demography and social anthropology, this book explores demographic trends in contemporary Japan's rapidly aging society. The contributors describe and analyze trends by addressing the ways in which demographic change is experienced in the context of family. The book considers the social effects, welfare issues, and private and public responses to demographic change and how this change has influenced the experiences of family caregivers and the elderly themselves. It offers both a specific regional contribution to the emerging field of demographic anthropology and an anthropological contribution to cross-disciplinary research on aging.

“There is … a lot that can be gleaned from this volume about changing patterns of Japanese kinship and concepts of welfare and morality.” — Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"This important intellectual contribution is an effort to integrate those fields that are often artificially separated in academia. This book is interesting, novel, and timely." — Akiko Hashimoto, author of The Gift of Generations: Japanese and American Perspectives on Aging and the Social Contract

Contributors include Naomi Brown, Brenda Robb Jenike, Toshiko Kaneda, Satsuki Kawano, John Knight, C. Scott Littleton, Susan Orpett Long, James M. Raymo, Leng Leng Thang, Christopher S. Thompson, and John W. Traphagan.
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About the author

John W. Traphagan is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan, published by SUNY Press, and the coeditor (with Kiyotaka Aoyagi and Peter J. M. Nas) of Toward Sustainable Cities: Readings in the Anthropology of Urban Environments. John Knight is Lecturer at the School of Anthropological Studies at Queen's University Belfast. He is the editor of Natural Enemies: People-Wildlife Conflicts in Anthropological Perspective.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 30, 2003
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780791456491
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Demography
Social Science / Gerontology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Provides a critique of and alternative to the dominant paradigm used in biomedical ethics by exploring the Japanese concept of autonomy.

This groundbreaking book offers a critical examination of the concept of autonomy, one with major implications for biomedical ethics. Working from the perspectives of ethnography and medical anthropology, John W. Traphagan argues that the notion of autonomy as a foundational principle of a common morality, the view dominant in North America, is inadequate as a universal moral category because culture deeply influences how people think about autonomy and the fundamental nature of being human. Drawing from fieldwork in Japan, Traphagan reveals a notably different sensibility, demonstrating how Japanese moral concepts and actions are based upon a deep awareness of the social embeddedness of people and an aesthetic sensitivity that emphasizes context and situation over universality in making moral evaluations of behavior. Traphagan develops data from Japan into a critical examination of how scholarly research in biomedical ethics, and ethics more generally, is conducted in North America. Arguing in a vein related to the emerging area of naturalized biomedical ethics, Traphagan proposes the creation of an empirically grounded study of moral behavior.

“Rethinking Autonomy is the first comprehensive comparison of a non-Western moral system in the context of Western philosophy, religious studies, and ethics. This is a seminal work—a masterpiece—that will be of great importance for biomedical ethicists.” — Barbara Oakley, coeditor of Pathological Altruism

“In our increasingly multicultural societies, a volume such as this is essential. With life, death, and legal issues at stake, it is an important contribution that those in the health, legal, and social services professions will find valuable as they navigate the complex terrain of making decisions and counseling other people in making decisions, often in emotionally charged, if not traumatic, contexts.” — Paula Arai, author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals
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