Faltering Discipline and the Ailing Family

Margaret Lock

in Encounters with Aging

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780520082212
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520916623 | DOI:
Faltering Discipline and the Ailing Family

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The basic ingredients in the discussion of the modern Japanese family and its members are, nearly everyone agrees, limitations of space in the Japanese archipelago, urbanization and other demographic changes, post-war reform, loss of contact with nature, and an increasing acceptance of the Western value of individualism. Discussants sorted and grouped this potpourri in various ways to create competing discourses about the family, some positive about the current situation but many, and most particularly in official documents, critical. Human relationships in urban areas are increasingly described as thin, a state symbolized by the phenomenon of elderly people dying alone and unnoticed. The majority of women, although they had given some thought to kōnenki, were primarily interested in family vicissitudes and work; concern about kōnenki was usually confined to the fact that it signals the approach of old age and thus inevitably impinges on family matters.

Keywords: individualism; Japan; urbanization; human relationships; family matters; kōnenki

Chapter.  11069 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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