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Type: Theses
Title: Engaging the angst of unemployed youth in post‐industrial Japan: a narrative self‐help approach
Author: Kido, Rie
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences : Asian Studies
Abstract: This thesis examines the experience of indefinable angst (ikizurasa) among youth who are in a long‐term period of unemployment in post‐industrial Japan. The current dominant model for unemployment support is largely based on activation policies, which assume that users can identify their problems and clarify their needs in regard to job seeking. However, the effectiveness of activation policies is limited for individuals with long‐term unemployment precisely because of their angst, which prevents them from acting rationally. This thesis explores another model to support such youth by using empirical data collected from those with a strong sense of ikizurasa. It addresses two questions: 1) What is ikizurasa angst? and 2) What sort of approach can be effective to mitigate it? For answering these questions, two research methods are adopted: 1) participant observation in a self‐help group where unemployed youth with ikizurasa gather to help themselves by sharing their own narratives, and 2) indepth interviews of ten participants of the group. This thesis argues that the term ikizurasa is a reflection of individualised marginalisation in a post‐industrial society where a life career becomes destandardised, the form of marginalisation is diversified and individualised, and the collective expression of marginalisation is weakened. Since the term ikizurasa denotes only subjective pain and not objective situations, it enables people to express their feelings of alienation and share them with others. This study found that through dialogical interactions, participants were able to re‐interpret the meaning of ikizurasa from a narrative of isolation to that of connectedness. The thesis further notes that for meaningful support of someone with ikizurasa, (re)constructing human relationships through the sharing of narratives may be a prerequisite before making an attempt to find work. The participant observation of the narrative self‐help practice showed that members could renew their sense of self and also clarify their needs in a practical manner, which had been difficult to achieve in existing activation schemes. The effectiveness of the self‐help group is based on ‘indirect aim‐setting’, which means that the goal is not getting a job, but rather selfhelp and enhancing the users’ subjectivity. This thesis concludes that a relational approach that enables youth to reconnect themselves to society is especially effective in an increasingly individualised world, and suggests an institutional framework to enhance relational support, as well as employment and welfare assistance for youth with Ikizurasa.
Advisor: Yoneyama, Shoko
Lin, Delia
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2018
Keywords: narrative approach
Ikizurasa (angst)
long-term unemployment
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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