23 avril 2014, conférence au centre d’études japonaises de Berkeley
Conférence : Inquiry into the Growth and Decline of the Very Poor in Japan
Japan is still often described as a relatively egalitarian society with a strong and well-developed middle-class. However, in recent decades, poverty and inequality have become major issues. From a comparative perspective, Japan is far from the only country concerned with a rise in the number of poor and very poor, as many other countries have witnessed a worsening of their social situation especially since the great recession started at the end of 2008.
However, the situation in Japan stands out for one major reason. Though the number of poor people is on the rise (for instance, the unemployed or social welfare receivers), there has actually been a decrease in the number of homeless people. Looking back to the beginning of the Japanese phenomenon of homelessness in the early 90s, this is not the first time that these two figures are not moving simultaneously.
As this paradox contradicts well-established knowledge of social stratification and structure, this presentation will inquire why these two figures have such a distinct relationship. I will examine the origin, evolution and methodology used to count the homeless population in Japan in order to explain this apparent contradiction : more poor, fewer homeless people.
PhD in Social Sciences (2005, Hitotsubashi University) and in Political Sciences (2007, Panthéon-Sorbonne University) ; Postdoctoral researcher at the French Japanese Houses Research Center from 2007 to 2009 ; Research fellow at the Center of Excellence “Social Stratification and Inequality” of Tohoku University from 2009 to 2011 ; Associate professor at Paris Diderot – Paris 7 at the Faculty of Languages and Civilizations of East Asia since 2011.
His main themes of research are poverty and civil society in Japan, studying the mobilization process of the very poor, its socio-political roots, meaning and consequences. He is the author of Homeless Struggle in Japan – the rebirth of civil society, L’Harmattan, 2011 (in French)” and several other articles related to this theme.