Jan.15: Counter-Hegemonic Discourse on New Poor in Japan in 2000s –A Case Study of Indie-Magazines

This time in Biotope Salon, Minjoo Lee shared her ongoing research on counter-hegemonic discourse on new poor in Japan since 1990s.
Here she introduced two small-scale, independent magazines on young new poor in Japan: the one is “Freeter’s free,” and the other is “Lost gene.” Both have been published during late 2000s and edited by young activists, young intellectuals and young workers, all who have engaged with social movement on young poor in Japan.


Mine (Center, with Red Sweater and Mac) and members of Biotope Salon

In these two indie magazines, as Minjoo argued, the young new poor attempted to problematize public discourses on them and to produce counter-hegemonic discourse by unfolding and re-appropriating their own experience. Moreover, these magazines provided counter-(alternative) publics where the young new poor could reach to self-acceptance escaping from self-denial and collectively search for alternative ways of life without being captured by neo-liberal capitalism. In this process, the young new poor – not only readers but also contributors and editors – re-identify their subjectivities as laborers, political subjects, and young generation who are situated in the very middle of the social contradictions produced by late capitalism.

For further research, she also aims to explore their alternative ways of publishing as a media movement that created and managed their publishing groups as a collective social enterprise. This will be delved into mainly by interviewing editors, contributors and other related people in independent publishing companies in order to reexamine their struggles to cross boundaries between discursive and real practices. Biotope Salon members suggested insightful and practical advice and information for her further research, especially on interviewing and independent publishing in Japan. Based on those invaluable discussions at the meeting, we hope her to develop her research as more vivid and elaborate one.

(Minjoo Lee, PhD student of the GSII, UTokyo)









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