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Making Japanese CitizensCivil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan$
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Simon Andrew Avenell

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262706

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262706.001.0001

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Shimin, New Civic Movements, and the Politics of Proposal

Shimin, New Civic Movements, and the Politics of Proposal

(p.195) Chapter 5 Shimin, New Civic Movements, and the Politics of Proposal
Making Japanese Citizens

Simon Andrew Avenell

University of California Press

The emergence of new civic groups from the 1970s onward is discussed in this chapter. The new civic movements which begun in the 1970s can be understood as a Japanese form of the new social movements so prevalent in industrialized nations since the 1960s. The focus of movement intellectuals on issues of daily life, their attention to non-class identities, and their preference for practical initiatives are all quintessential elements of the NSMs (New Social Movements). Leading activists' emphasis on self reflexivity also lends credence to an NSM reading of these movements. Nevertheless, the chapter set aside the NSM paradigm for two reasons: firstly, much of what the intellectuals of the movement claimed to be new about their movements actually drew liberally on elements of earlier shimin thought and activism, especially notions of self-help, participation, nation, and community; and, secondly, the new civic movements and their leaders effected changes that NSM theory simply could not explain.

Keywords:   civic groups, New Social Movements, NSM, activist, leader, self-help, nation

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