Masami Iwata is Professor of Social Welfare at Niho…n Women's' University.
She starts with a rather impressive example of visiting a shopping mall, where you can see all the same stores and cafes as you see at the other shopping malls in Japan (and probably everywhere in the world) . There you can see two relationships, if you go into a cafe you can get what you want. It is a short-living, instant, open relationship between you and the cafe. On the other hand if you go into a public library you may not be able to borrow any books unless you are a citizen of that community. Even at a cafe there are may places you cannot enter, places where “Private” boards you can see. In such places relationship is much more closed but could last for a longer period of time.
Iwata describes that, because of globalization, the world is getting more and more like shopping malls. On one hand the world is getting more open to everyone, but at the same time there is a system which pushes people out of the the necessary places or social relationships, which is called social exclusion.
Iwata describes that, compared with traditional studies on poverty which concerns about material lackness, studies on social exclusion care more about lack of relationship between one individual and the society that traditional welfare system cannot make up for. Social exclusion is described as a very complicated, complex, and individual process with comprehensive influences of economy, society, politics, education, housing, etc.
The background factor which disables the traditional welfare system (a product in industry area) is Globalization and Post-Industrial Society. They triggered a recomposition of works; more and more knowledge workers are needed (and with the Internet they can work flexibly but without breaks 24 hours a day) and less and less low-skilled workers are needed. The former moves across boarders for better pay and challenge and the latter movers for minimal pay to support their families back home. Each moves trigger various conflicts, home and away.
Iwata also describes the vertical moves in one society, that is about those in the bottom excluded tire and those in the middle tire, the position of which is much more fragile than before.
She then spares a lot of pages for research findings on 1) Homeless people on the street and 2)Homeless people in Internet cafes and shows the processes to become homeless in each cases with specific examples.
There is a core as well as periphery in one society. Iwata stresses on the importance of “space” and describes those in the periphery social status, or socially excluded, tend to (forced to) live in certain places (geographical areas as well as types of building functions such as prisons, workers camps, internet cafes, etc.). She points out that, because of Globalization, many cities are being renovated to invite more capitals and those periphery communities are being demolished. This pushes people in periphery positions out to move into parks and riversides (which casues a lot of conflicts). Some decide to stay at their poor homes without supply of electricity and gas and found dead alone in a room after a few years. Others prefer a quicker solution and commit suicide. Even for those who want to live, “ordinary citizens” protest against their occupying public places, and young gangs occasionally “hunt” and kill homeless people. In many places “citizens” protest against building social welfare facilities.
Iwata points out that in Japan the concept of social inclusion is associated with helping them independent ( this of course is the influence of USA). The government stresses the workers have to participant in economic activities and it is their responsibilities to make a living, given opportunities to work.
Iwata cast a doubt on the effectiveness of this approach for the following 5 reasons;
1)Do they (those who need inclusion) have enough skills to participate in work?
2)It is up to each private company to employ them or not.
3)How do we prioritize them?
4)The quality of work is the second question. The first priority would become to fulfill the quota.
5)There would be another type of exclusion in the company they managed to go in.
Iwata suggets that the first step would be to establish the system in which each citizen can secure an address or a place to live as a foundation of belongingness to the society. Also she suggests that participation in the society should not be limited to participation through work, for there a variety of social members such as aged people(quite a lot in Japan. Even now 25% of women are 65 years old!), handicapped people, and children. She then introduces the concept of Asset-Based Welfare.
Iwata then goes on that the problem of social inclusion/exclusion is not limited to one country and have to be considered from a broader perspective.続きを読む