Mixed messages

Discourses of education in policy speeches to the Japanese diet

David Rear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper will examine how Japanese education policy was articulated discursively from 1996 to 2010 in the semi-annual speeches of prime ministers to the Diet. It will identify three distinct discourses within these policy statements: a progressive discourse emphasizing the rights of individuals; a neo-liberal discourse of social independence and multi-tracked schooling; and a moral conservative discourse of patriotism and social conformism. In the 1990s, progressive and neo-liberal discourses held sway. Discursively, they were centred on key phrases such as kosei jūshi ("respect for individuality") and sōzōsei (creativity), which were employed in a strategically ambiguous way to satisfy both progressive and neo-liberal demands. In the 2000s, however, right-wing politicians began to push a moral conservative agenda, which emphasized not the rights of individuals but their subservience to the wider needs of society and state. With neo-liberalism backed by powerful business interests, policymakers had to find a way to reconcile these two conflicting viewpoints discursively. They did this by binding the concept of individuality to traditional notions of Japanese identity and national citizenship, creating a hybrid discourse that attempted to blur the fundamental difference in ideologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun

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discourse
education
individuality
conformism
patriotism
neoliberalism
minister
Ideologies
creativity
politician
respect
citizenship

Keywords

  • Discourses
  • Education reform
  • Fundamental law of education
  • Language
  • Policy speeches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Mixed messages : Discourses of education in policy speeches to the Japanese diet. / Rear, David.

In: Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol. 31, No. 2, 06.2011, p. 129-142.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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