Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226367866 Published June 2016
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226367729 Published June 2016
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Schooling Selves

Autonomy, Interdependence, and Reform in Japanese Junior High Education

Peter Cave

Schooling Selves

Peter Cave

296 pages | 15 halftones, 8 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226367866 Published June 2016
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226367729 Published June 2016
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226368054 Published June 2016
Balancing the development of autonomy with that of social interdependence is a crucial aim of education in any society, but nowhere has it been more hotly debated than in Japan, where controversial education reforms over the past twenty years have attempted to reconcile the two goals. In this book, Peter Cave explores these reforms as they have played out at the junior high level, the most intense pressure point in the Japanese system, a time when students prepare for the high school entrance exams that will largely determine their educational trajectories and future livelihoods.
           
Cave examines the implementation of “relaxed education” reforms that attempted to promote individual autonomy and free thinking in Japanese classrooms. As he shows, however, these policies were eventually transformed by educators and school administrators into curricula and approaches that actually promoted social integration over individuality, an effect opposite to the reforms’ intended purpose. With vivid detail, he offers the voices of teachers, students, and parents to show what happens when national education policies run up against long-held beliefs and practices, and what their complex and conflicted interactions say about the production of self and community in education. The result is a fascinating analysis of a turbulent era in Japanese education that offers lessons for educational practitioners in any country. 
Contents
Acknowledgments
Note on Conventions
Introduction

Chapter 1.       Individuals, Autonomy, and Society in Japanese Education
Chapter 2.       Reshaping Reform: Discipline, Autonomy, and Group Relations
Chapter 3.       Classes, Clubs, and Control
Chapter 4.       Mass Games and Dreams of Youth
Chapter 5.       Changing the Classroom? Autonomy and Expression in Japanese Language and Literature
Chapter 6.       The Challenges and Trials of Curricular Change
Chapter 7.       To Graduation and Beyond: High School Entrance and Juku

Conclusion
Fieldwork Appendix
Notes
Glossary
References
Index
Review Quotes
Roger Goodman, author of Children of the Japanese State
“In this wonderfully detailed ethnography, which draws on over a dozen years of fieldwork—often visiting the same event many years apart—Cave robustly challenges the persistent view of Japanese junior high schools as unchanging institutions that serve primarily to prepare children for a life focused on group rather than individual activity. In doing so, Cave shifts our understanding of some of the key topics not only in Japanese studies but also in anthropology more generally, such as personhood, autonomy, creativity, and how social change both occurs and is resisted.”
Christopher Bjork, author of High-Stakes Schooling
“A nuanced look at recent efforts to alter the context for teaching and learning in Japan. Not only does Cave’s analysis deepen our understanding of the education system, it also raises some pithy questions about social change in Japan and the tensions that have surfaced as government leaders attempt to convince citizens to adopt behaviors that often clash with established practices.”
Kaori H. Okano, La Trobe University
Schooling Selves is an insightful longitudinal ethnographic study of how Japanese junior high schools have interpreted, and struggled to implement, national reform policies to promote individual autonomy. Its outstanding feature is the extensive coverage, exceeding any previous studies, of aspects of daily schooling that Cave devotes to examining this process, including extracurricular clubs, the subjects of Japanese and integrated studies, sports days, choral contests, cultural festivals, and assessment. Readers can unpack the complexity and underlying reasoning for the contradiction-ridden policy implementation process through the author’s thick description of everyday schooling; and in so doing, they gain an insight into how individual autonomy, interdependence, and the social whole are conceived by teachers, parents, and students, and in the wider society.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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