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postgraduate thesis: "Going public" Ueno Chizuko, boundary-work and the diffusion of feminism in Japan

Title"Going public" Ueno Chizuko, boundary-work and the diffusion of feminism in Japan
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2017
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Vale, P. J. [林培紅]. (2017). "Going public" Ueno Chizuko, boundary-work and the diffusion of feminism in Japan. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractUeno Chizuko (1947–) is acknowledged as the most popular feminist in contemporary Japan. Her feminist career and activities have continuously attracted public attention since her debut as a “crazy female scholar” in the 1980s, and have triggered many discussions on her roles and contributions to the development of feminism. This thesis represents a pioneering study to address the question of how Ueno has broken the boundaries of knowledge production and dissemination to diffuse feminist ideas and knowledge from the private to the public sphere in Japan over the past forty years. As the focus lies on ‘how’, the thesis aims to investigate the modality of the particular type of knowledge diffusion, that is, the process and strategies used by Ueno. This study adopts a feminist qualitative approach to explore Ueno’s roles, activities, life choices, decision-making and strategies in the process of breaking boundaries and diffusing feminism. Drawing on recent interdisciplinary theorization of knowledge diffusion, the public sphere, feminist celebrity power and boundary-work, I have developed a new framework to study Ueno’s career. Methodologically, I adopt the interpretive constructivist approach to examine the process in which Ueno gives meanings to her knowledge-spreading project. The data used for the analysis includes materials from the Japanese feminist movement, including academic article, reports, official documents, newspaper columns, readers’ letters, online commentaries and audio resources, supplemented by twelve interviews. Guided by discourse analysis, I demonstrate how Ueno makes use of her celebrity influence to facilitate her boundary-work, that is, a boundary expansion for feminism to be known in a broader cultural and societal terrain in Japan. I analyze and reframe Ueno’s effort in the diffusion of feminism in different settings. The possibility of Ueno’s boundary-work relies heavily on her popularity as a celebrity feminist, which she has constructed since the 1980s. In chapter 1, I discuss the cultural problems hindering the diffusion of feminism in Japan, setting the stage for exploring why and how Ueno has been committed in diffusion of feminism. Chapter 2 explains key theoretical considerations underlying this research. Chapter 3 details the methodology for this research and explains the difficulties faced by an insider researcher. Chapter 4 traces the events leading to the emergence of Ueno as a feminist icon in Japan, and examines her strategies in consolidating her celebrity status. Chapters 5 to 9 analyze Ueno’s boundary-crossing knowledge diffusion activities, involving both vertical and horizontal boundary-crossing, expansion and reconstruction, intergenerational transfer and boundary-work at the virtual world. Importantly, specific contexts of feminist incidents, such as feminist debates, feminist pedagogies and anti-feminist currents, have provided varied opportunities and resources for Ueno to take action. I argue that by taking advantage of the situations, events, or chaos, and by employing timely strategies and her celebrity influence, Ueno has successfully unsettled the existing boundaries and constructed a wider receptive public sphere for feminism. The research contributes theoretically and methodologically in three ways. Firstly, it demonstrates Ueno’s feminist celebrity influence in attracting a wider public audience to feminism. Secondly, it establishes Ueno as a boundary-worker who employs various strategies to break boundaries and spread feminism. Thirdly, it provides a good empirical case to elucidate that boundaries are fluid systems and subject to change as far as boundary-workers are willing to engage. (537 words)
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectJapan - Feminism
Japan - Feminists
Dept/ProgramModern Languages and Cultures
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261590

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorGoddard, TU-
dc.contributor.advisorEdwards, LP-
dc.contributor.authorVale, Pui-hung, Jessica-
dc.contributor.author林培紅-
dc.date.accessioned2018-09-27T09:03:16Z-
dc.date.available2018-09-27T09:03:16Z-
dc.date.issued2017-
dc.identifier.citationVale, P. J. [林培紅]. (2017). "Going public" Ueno Chizuko, boundary-work and the diffusion of feminism in Japan. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/261590-
dc.description.abstractUeno Chizuko (1947–) is acknowledged as the most popular feminist in contemporary Japan. Her feminist career and activities have continuously attracted public attention since her debut as a “crazy female scholar” in the 1980s, and have triggered many discussions on her roles and contributions to the development of feminism. This thesis represents a pioneering study to address the question of how Ueno has broken the boundaries of knowledge production and dissemination to diffuse feminist ideas and knowledge from the private to the public sphere in Japan over the past forty years. As the focus lies on ‘how’, the thesis aims to investigate the modality of the particular type of knowledge diffusion, that is, the process and strategies used by Ueno. This study adopts a feminist qualitative approach to explore Ueno’s roles, activities, life choices, decision-making and strategies in the process of breaking boundaries and diffusing feminism. Drawing on recent interdisciplinary theorization of knowledge diffusion, the public sphere, feminist celebrity power and boundary-work, I have developed a new framework to study Ueno’s career. Methodologically, I adopt the interpretive constructivist approach to examine the process in which Ueno gives meanings to her knowledge-spreading project. The data used for the analysis includes materials from the Japanese feminist movement, including academic article, reports, official documents, newspaper columns, readers’ letters, online commentaries and audio resources, supplemented by twelve interviews. Guided by discourse analysis, I demonstrate how Ueno makes use of her celebrity influence to facilitate her boundary-work, that is, a boundary expansion for feminism to be known in a broader cultural and societal terrain in Japan. I analyze and reframe Ueno’s effort in the diffusion of feminism in different settings. The possibility of Ueno’s boundary-work relies heavily on her popularity as a celebrity feminist, which she has constructed since the 1980s. In chapter 1, I discuss the cultural problems hindering the diffusion of feminism in Japan, setting the stage for exploring why and how Ueno has been committed in diffusion of feminism. Chapter 2 explains key theoretical considerations underlying this research. Chapter 3 details the methodology for this research and explains the difficulties faced by an insider researcher. Chapter 4 traces the events leading to the emergence of Ueno as a feminist icon in Japan, and examines her strategies in consolidating her celebrity status. Chapters 5 to 9 analyze Ueno’s boundary-crossing knowledge diffusion activities, involving both vertical and horizontal boundary-crossing, expansion and reconstruction, intergenerational transfer and boundary-work at the virtual world. Importantly, specific contexts of feminist incidents, such as feminist debates, feminist pedagogies and anti-feminist currents, have provided varied opportunities and resources for Ueno to take action. I argue that by taking advantage of the situations, events, or chaos, and by employing timely strategies and her celebrity influence, Ueno has successfully unsettled the existing boundaries and constructed a wider receptive public sphere for feminism. The research contributes theoretically and methodologically in three ways. Firstly, it demonstrates Ueno’s feminist celebrity influence in attracting a wider public audience to feminism. Secondly, it establishes Ueno as a boundary-worker who employs various strategies to break boundaries and spread feminism. Thirdly, it provides a good empirical case to elucidate that boundaries are fluid systems and subject to change as far as boundary-workers are willing to engage. (537 words) -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshJapan - Feminism-
dc.subject.lcshJapan - Feminists-
dc.title"Going public" Ueno Chizuko, boundary-work and the diffusion of feminism in Japan-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineModern Languages and Cultures-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2017-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043982881803414-

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