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Popular Democracy in JapanHow Gender and Community Are Changing Modern Electoral Politics$
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Sherry L. Martin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449178

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449178.001.0001

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Politically Excluded “Commoners”

Politically Excluded “Commoners”

A Gendered Pathway to Participation

(p.102) 4 Politically Excluded “Commoners”
Popular Democracy in Japan

Sherry L. Martin

Cornell University Press

This chapter introduces two sets of focus group participants—all women of voting age living in the Tokyo metropolitan area. These women use emphatic narratives about education, self-improvement, community, and national development when talking about electoral participation. They assume responsibility for teaching themselves and analyze their own interactions with the state in everyday life as their primary data source for evaluating national politics. Participants transform the focus group into a “community of practice” and through this process provide insight into how any study group, regardless of topic, upends traditional modes of knowledge production. Women's study groups yield alternative definitions of democracy and political practices that clash with “elite” national politics in Japan.

Keywords:   focus groups, women's study groups, community of practice, knowledge production, elite national politics, alternative political practices

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