A Conceptual History of ‘Shimin Shakai (Civil Society)’ in Japan: A Data-Mining Analysis

Teruhito Sako, Tokyo Metropolitan University

The semantic history of the term Shimin Shakai (Civil Society) is a key to understanding modern Japanese social thought. This paper explores the semantic and conceptual history of the term in the twentieth century, using text data-mining techniques. It observes several stages of usage. From 1930s to the 1950s, Civil Society either carried Marxist or liberal connotations derived from classical social and political theory. In the 1960s, ‘Taishu Shakai (Mass Society)’ appeared alongside Civil Society, with Japanese theorists arguing that Japanese Civil Society should be modified as voluntary civic organizations who mediate between the mass and the elites. Thereafter, the term was implicated in a variety of neo-Marxist critiques before becoming a major conceptual tool of social description in popular discourse from the 1990s.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 59. Data Intensive Approaches to Civil Society and Economic Concepts