Women Managers in Neoliberal Japan: Gender, Precarious Labour and Everyday Lives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Women Managers in Neoliberal Japan

Gender, Precarious Labour and Everyday Lives, 1st Edition

By Swee-Lin Ho


160 pages

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Hardback: 9780367186210
pub: 2020-02-27
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This book, based on extensive original research, presents a detailed analysis of the varying opportunities and challenges experienced by Japanese women with professional careers, an important category of the population in Japan, whose lives remain little known. It addresses many key issues, including the problems of flexible work in an increasingly neoliberal environment; the pervasiveness of precarious work conditions in gendered managerial employment; the state’s neglect in transforming antiquated labour laws and in combating abusive corporate practices; the implications of dysfunctional employee-employer relations and those among co-workers; media representations as barometers of resistant social norms; the ambivalent effects of work related drinking practices; and the lack of collective representation due to ineffective labour unions. Overall, the book presents the disheartening realities of conflicts and ambivalence experienced by many women managers in contemporary Japan.

Table of Contents

1 ‘Womenomics’: To Make Women Shine or Die?

2 In the Media: As Flowers, Parasites, Loser Dogs and Demons

3 In the Company of Co-Workers: Performing Gender and Drinking for Survival

4 In the Office: As Nominal Managers and Corporate Props

5 To the State: As Victims and Perpetrators of Power Harassment

6 A Shiny or More Precarious Future?




Appendix: Chart of Subjects’ Profiles

About the Author

Swee-Lin Ho is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests include the neoliberal transformations of work, new practices of friendship; changing cityscapes and the urban night space; ethnographic field methods and ‘studying up’ approach; globalization of East Asian popular culture; emergent corporate cultures; the commercialization of intimacy; social formations of gender; and the political economy of the global classical music industry.

She worked for many years in various international cities as auditor, financial journalist and corporate executive before completing her graduate studies at Sophia University and later the University of Oxford. She has taught in South Korea, where she was also a Korea Foundation Research Fellow studying the conflicting desires of gendered selfhood, nationhood and cultural identities through the globalization of contemporary Korean popular culture.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Kinneret Academic College, Sea of Galilee, Israel

Hirochika Nakamaki, Suita City Museum, Japan
Christoph Brumann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Henry Johnson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies