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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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Gender and “Communities of Practice”

Gender and “Communities of Practice”

Escaping the Regulatory Boundaries of Formal Education

(p.130) 5 Gender and “Communities of Practice”
Popular Democracy in Japan

Sherry L. Martin

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the unexpected consequences of state efforts to harness women's educational attainment to its own developmental goals over the postwar period. Women's education was initially promoted to prepare mothers to socialize and educate a highly skilled and disciplined workforce for the future. A side effect is that women themselves constitute a highly skilled and underutilized pool of human capital that seeks alternative spaces for reinvestment and future growth. The Japanese state's promotion of lifelong learning, from the 1980s onward, to create a more flexible labor force generated opportunities for women to define new research and study agendas outside of a formal institutional setting. Women engaged in study groups have the opportunity to shift popular understandings of what constitutes legitimate knowledge and expertise, how it is produced, and who is fit for teaching and being taught.

Keywords:   women's educational attainment, postwar period, human capital, women's study groups, alternative intellectual spaces, lifelong learning, communities of practice, state developmental goals

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