Montag, 27. Mai 2013, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Vortrag: Prof. Dr. Patricia G. Steinhoff (University of Hawaii)

„Making Japan’s Invisible Civil Society Visible Through Demonstrations“

Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften, Abteilung für Japanologie
Spitalgasse 2, AAKH Campus, Hof 2.4, Seminarraum JAP 1, 1090 Wien


This paper is part of a larger project on Japan’s invisible civil society—the thousands of small groups that advocate for a multitude of causes in contemporary Japan. With roots tracing back to the protest decade of the 1960s and lessons learned from the New Left’s confrontations with the state at the end of the decade, these groups deliberately remain small and informal, with few visible traces in mainstream Japan or in standard indicators of civil society activity. Large demonstrations represent one of the few ways such groups can suddenly become visible to the general public and the mass media. But how can tiny groups with virtually no formal organization mobilize thousands of people for mass events that are not spontaneous collective behavior, but well-planned acts of political advocacy? To answer this question the paper explores the postwar history and recent changes in such demonstrations, the networks that link invisible civil society groups together and the social processes and institutions that make these events possible despite the absence of large, hierarchical institutions to mobilize participants. The presentation will use visual images to illustrate the wide range of participants, issues, and styles that co-exist in contemporary street demonstrations, and examine how participants interact with security forces and the public. It will also consider the role that such demonstrations play in the broader political agendas of the invisible civil society, including reinforcement of constitutionally-protected democratic practices.

Patricia Steinhoff is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawaii. She holds a BA in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Michigan (1963) and a PhD in sociology from Harvard University (1969) and has taught at the University of Hawaii since 1968. Her primary research interest is social movements, civil society, and radical left groups in Japan. She has conducted a series of studies of Japanese Studies in the United States and Canada for the Japan Foundation. She is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including three in Japanese, and ninety articles and book chapters. She has done extensive research on how Japanese social movements interact with the state and is currently writing a book on Japan’s invisible civil society.

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Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften, Abteilung für Japanologie & Akademischer Arbeitskreis Japan


Johannes Wilhelm
Institut für Ostasienwissenschaften
Abteilung für Japanologie
+43 (0)1-4277-43803