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Title:Childcare politics: Life and power in Japanese day care centers
Author(s):Chung, Byung-Ho
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Plath, David
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Social Work
Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:This dissertation examines two of the main functions--the socialization of children and the politicization of adults--of day care centers in Japan.
The first part of the study is a socio-historical analysis of the meaning and function of the day care system in Japanese society where the dominant values still run counter to it. It documents the process of: how the increasing labor market demands for working mothers has pressed the powerful conservatives to make a bargain with the progressives over the expansion of day care; how the establishment of the day care centers has become a political project of the progressive groups by shifting childcare issues from family to public; and, how the project of day care system has served the progressive political movements in contemporary Japanese society.
The second part is an ethnographic study contrasting two day care centers in a small city in Hokkaido. It examines the ways in which the competing educational and political ideologies are reflected in the organization, space and time, and the programs. This ethnography highlights the process of how children are socialized differently in these centers. The focus is placed on what the centers do for the children in each community as a formal institution for early education and, at the same time, as a new communal place for living. It also investigates the politics of everyday life among the adults (parents, teachers, and administrators) in the centers.
This thesis shows that day care centers have already become important locus of early socialization in Japan. As different political orientations compete in inducing further socio-political changes through early socialization in day care system, day care centers have opened a new arena for political and cultural conflict in defining the cultural ideals of family, motherhood, the homogeneity of Japanese society, and institutional child-rearing. By understanding how various discourses intersect at day care centers, this study discusses some of the contrasts and conflicts between the diverse and stratified paths of socialization of children and adults.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Chung, Byung-Ho
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236429
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236429

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