Heidi Gottfried


Precariousness in Japan: After the ‘Lost Decade’

I scrutinize trends and tendencies toward widespread youth unemployment and rising nonstandard employment in the context of an increasingly precarious Japan. Through an analysis of precariousness, I reveal how a country once celebrated as a high trust system generating high economic performance lost its way during the “Lost Decade” of the 1990s. Japan was often cited for its low unemployment rate, both absolutely and relative to other countries. Low unemployment, however, masked the extent of precariousness in the labor market. Few scholars noticed that the emergence of nonstandard employment had preceded the reversal of economic fortunes. For this reason, extant models have failed to anticipate growing precariousness in society as a whole, and among women (especially mothers), and increasingly among the young and the elderly (both male and female). 

Part of Sticky Floors: Gender and Unemployment



Heidi Gottfried (Wayne State University)

Heidi Gottfried is professor of sociology at Wayne State University and has published several books and articles on gender and work transformation. Her latest book is titled Gender, Work and Economy: Unpacking the Global Economy (Polity, 2012). She has edited or co-edited Gendering the Knowledge Economy: Comparative Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Remapping the Humanities: Identity, Community, Memory, (Post)Modernity (Wayne State University Press, 2008), Equity in the Workplace: Gendering Workplace Policy Analysis (Lexington Books, 2004),and Feminism and Social Change: Bridging Theory and Practice (University of Illinois Press, 1995). Other publications include ”Temp(t)ing Bodies: Shaping Gender at Work in Japan” and  “Japan: The Reproductive Bargain and the Making of Precarious Employment.”

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