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The Social Sciences in Modern Japan

The Marxian and Modernist Traditions

Andrew E. Barshay (Author)


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This incisive intellectual history of Japanese social science from the 1890s to the present day considers the various forms of modernity that the processes of "development" or "rationalization" have engendered and the role social scientists have played in their emergence. Andrew E. Barshay argues that Japan, together with Germany and pre-revolutionary Russia, represented forms of developmental alienation from the Atlantic Rim symptomatic of late-emerging empires. Neither members nor colonies of the Atlantic Rim, these were independent national societies whose cultural self-image was nevertheless marked by a sense of difference.

Barshay presents a historical overview of major Japanese trends and treats two of the most powerful streams of Japanese social science, one associated with Marxism, the other with Modernism (kindaishugi), whose most representative figure is the late Maruyama Masao. Demonstrating that a sense of developmental alienation shaped the thinking of social scientists in both streams, the author argues that they provided Japanese social science with moments of shared self-understanding.

1. Social Science as History
2. The Social Sciences in Modern Japan: An Overview
3. Doubly Cruel: Marxism and the Presence of the Past in Japanese Capitalism
4. Thinking through Capital: Uno Kozo and Marxian Political Economy
5. School's Out? The Uno School Meets Japanese Capitalism
6. Social Science and Ethics: Civil Society Marxism
7. Imagining Democracy in Postwar Japan: Maruyama Masao as a Political Thinker

Andrew E. Barshay is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of State and Intellectual in Imperial Japan: The Public Man in Crisis (California, 1988).
“Barshay’s book is a remarkable achievement.”—K. Hirano Choice
“A much-need work [that] eludicates the socal scientific thought of a major non-Western society whose economic and political achievements still keep policymakers in other places awake at night.”—Brian McVeigh H-Net Reviews In Humanities & Social Sciences
"An ambitious, challenging and unprecedented project. . . . Barshay's truly breathtaking. As far as I am aware, this is the first and only serious account of the development and shape of social science in any non-Western society, let alone Japan. It takes Japanese thinkers seriously as innovative and socially responsible social scientists in their own right and presents a convincing narrative of the way that these thinkers both revealed and shaped modern Japanese society. Every chapter is thoroughly researched, well synthesized, impressively analysed and articulately presented. "—C.S. Goto-Jones Japan Forum
"A stunning achievement as the first full account of social science in a non-Western society. Barshay tells an epic story of how a handful of Japanese intellectuals used social science to make sense of the new society into which they were moving. What they did helps us understand not only Japan, but the whole modern world."—Robert Bellah, Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Tokugawa Religion and Imagining Japan

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