LINGUIST List 31.2632

Fri Aug 21 2020

Books: The Discursive Construction of Hierarchy in Japanese Society: Wang

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 12-Aug-2020
From: Asja Kusnezowa <>
Subject: The Discursive Construction of Hierarchy in Japanese Society: Wang
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Title: The Discursive Construction of Hierarchy in Japanese Society
Subtitle: An Ethnographic Study of Secondary School Clubs
Series Title: Contributions to the Sociology of Language [CSL]
Published: 2020
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Book URL:

Author: Zi Wang
Hardback: ISBN: 9781501518621 Pages: 213 Price: U.S. $ 114.99

Seniority-based hierarchy (jouge kankei) is omnipresent in Japanese group dynamics. How one comports, depends on one’s status and position vis-à-vis others. To-date, no study shows what constitutes this hierarchy, where and when individuals growing up in Japan first come into contact with it, as well as how they learn to function in it.

This book fills in the lacunae. Considering jouge kankei as a social institution and adopting a discourse analytic approach, this volume examines the ways in which institutional jouge kankei as an enduring feature of Japanese social life are created and reproduced. The monograph analyses how seniority-based relations are enacted, legitimised, transmitted, and reified by social actors through language use and paralinguistic discursive practices, such as the use of space, objects, signs, and symbols. It also looks at how established rules could be challenged. The empirical data on which findings are based are gathered through 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork from 2015 to 2018 in Japanese schools, with certain types of data (school club etiquette books and uniforms) being presented and analysed for the first time. This volume also shows continuity and change of jouge kankei from school to work.

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            General Linguistics
Areal Regions: East Asian

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 21-Aug-2020