Thursday, May 10, 2018

Notes on Social Ontology Snapshot


- Six human goods:  Bodily survival, security and pleasure; Knowledge of Reality; Identify Coherence and Affirmation; Exercising Purposive Agency; Moral Affirmation; Social Belonging and Love.















- In alphabetical order
- Proponent is indicated in parenthesis

A - Artefacts (Lawson)
Ac - Acceptance (Searle)
Au - Authorizations (Searle)
BF - Brute Facts (Searle)
C - Communities (Lawson)
CI - Collective Intentionality (Searle)
CR - Constitutive Rules (Searle)
D - Duties (Searle)
DIRA - Desire-Independent Reasons for Action (Searle)
DP - Deontic Powers (Searle)
E - Entitlements (Searle)
HG - Human Goods (Smith)
I - Institutions (Searle)
IF - Institutional Facts (Searle)
NI - Normative Instrumentality (Elder-Vass)
NC - Norm Circle (Elder-Vass)
O - Obligations (Lawson)
Ob - Obligations (Searle)
P - Personhood (Smith)
Pe - Permissions (Searle)
R - Rights (Lawson)
Re - Requirements (Searle)
Rec - Recognition (Searle)
Ri - Rights (Searle)
RR - Regulative Rules (Searle)
SP - Social Positions (Lawson)
SF - Status Functions (Searle)


- Smith, C. (2015). To Flourish or Destruct:  A Personalist Theory of Human Goods, Motivations, Failure, and Evil.  Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.

-Lawson, T. (2012).  Ontology and the study of social reality: emergence, organization, community, power, social relations corporations, artefacts and money.  Cambridge Journal of Economics, 36, 345-385.
-Lawson, T. (2016).  Comparing Conceptions of Social Ontology: Emergent Social Entities and/or Institutional Facts?. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 46(4), 359-399.

- Searle, J. (2010).  Making The Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

-Elder-Vass, D. (2010).  The Causal Power of Social Structures.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

[INTERVIEW NOTES] Ferdinand, Careworker, xxx, Japan

Respondent:  Ferdinand (alias only)
Date/Time/Place:  2017-1-22 / 20:00 - 22:30 / MCDO


Ferdinand entered Japan as a Trainee in [year] and was stationed in Hamamatsu.  He then married a third-generation descendant thereby gaining a spousal visa.  Ferdinand explains that while the marriage was fully legalized, it was an arranged one.  It was the Filipina who supposedly offered to help him stabilize his legal status thru marriage but with no strings attached, that is, no monthly payment to the Filipina and no commitments of physical intimacy between them.  Ferdinand narrates that eventually the Filipina wanted physical intimacy and this is what pushed him to move away from Hamamatsu.

Now Ferdinand was in touch via Facebook with a high school classmate of his -- Carla -- who lived in xxx City.  It was Carla who suggested to Ferdinand to come to xxx, recommending him to Goto Academy, a Japanese company training caregivers and fielding them to various carehouses.

Goto Academy then fielded Ferdinand to a nearby carehouse - Summer Care - one of many branches of a nationwide network of carehouses in Japan.  It was Summer Care that paid [amount] to Goto Academy for the caregiving training of Ferdinand.  This caregiving training was for a total of 24 sessions - 4 weekends (total of 8 days) for 3 months.  Ferdinand was not asked to repay Summer Care for the cost of the caregiving training.  Ferdinand explained that only recently did he learn that the requirement of Summer Care to Goto Academy for shouldering Ferdinand's training cost was that he stay with Summer Care for a minimum of 2 years.  In those three months that Ferdinand was completing the caregiving training during weekends he worked at Summer Care for five days a week, eight hours a day at 850yen per hour. 

After successfully completing the caregiving training, Ferdinand's salary increased.  His rate is now as follows:

> during morning shifts (7am - 4pm): 
7am - 9am:  950yen (basic rate) + 150yen (Osaka City subsidy/teate) + 500yen (premium pay) = 1,600yen
9am - 4pm:  950yen (basic rate) + 150yen (city subsidy/teate) = 1,100yen
(1 hour unpaid lunch break)
daily rate for morning shifts:  9,800yen per day ([1,600yen x 2hrs] + [1,100yen x 6hrs])

> during afternoon shifts (11am - 8pm): 
11am - 6pm:  950yen (basic rate) + 150yen (Osaka City subsidy/teate) = 1,100yen
6pm - 8pm:  950yen (basic rate) + 150yen (city subsidy/teate) + 300yen (premium pay) = 1,400yen
(1 hour unpaid lunch break)
daily rate for morning shifts:  9,400yen per day ([1,400yen x 2hrs] + [1,100yen x 6hrs])

Ferdinand's monthly salary depends on his weekly postings (whether morning or afternoon shifts).  Samples of weekly postings are here.

Ferdinand's work tasks include:

1.  Feeding
- preparing (not cooking) the food and placing it in the eating area; providing assistance to carehouse residents who need assistance while eating.

2.  Bathing
- full bathing service for any gender.  Ferdinand explains that residents have the option of requesting for a care worker of the same gender as the resident.

3.  Medicine distribution
- Distributing pre-packed and pre-allocated medicines to residents.

4.  Toilet assistance
- Helping residents with toilet tasks

Ferdinand is one of four Filipinos (all males) working at Summer Care.  The rest are Japanese workers.  There is one Taiwanese worker on weekends doing part-time hours.

Ferdinand received two bonuses:  a mid-year bonus of 20,000yen (16,000yen net) and a winter bonus of 30,000yen (24,000yen net).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Embedded Ethnic Populations: Why They Matter Personally

1.  Definition

  • Embedded (Full Local Knowledge)

               + long-duration (vs. short-term: tourists, work-related)

  • Ethnic (Distinct/Wider Set of Rights)

               + spousal, child/descendant (vs. activity, skill-based visa)

  • Historical contingencies

               + war, colonization, state policy

2.  Examples of Embedded Ethnic Populations
  • Koreans/Taiwanese in Japan (From WWII labor)

  • Filipina wives of Japanese

  • Mexicans in USA/Turks in Germany
               From the Bracero/guest worker programs of 1960s
  • Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar
               From multiple historical contingencies

3.  Why They Matter Personally

  • How do I belong to a group?
               >Membership based on race
                              -Korean/Taiwanese legal status settled only in 1981 

               >Membership based on values 
                              -Does low prestige ascribed to entertainers limit membership?

               >Membership based on benefits
                              -Mexicans biggest group without legal status

  • Who are not in your group? (and how do I feel/act towards them?)
               >Respect for Difference
               >Inclusive Diversity
               >Call to action

Session support naterials for download:
1.  Powerpoint presentation
2.  Reading List
3.  Glossary (English and Japanese)
  • Embedded (to be inserted/buried deeply)
    埋め込む [うめこむ (umekomu)]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Inclusive Diversity: Understanding Hidden Migrant Populations

Diversity in human mobility includes those migrants who are marginalized by legal, cultural or personal stigma -- either manifest or perceived, or both.  Overstayers, entertainers, migrants’ offspring  (those disenfranchised or mal-integrated in varying degrees) become “hidden” populations as they (choose to) remain anonymous to lessen stigma and/or they are misunderstood given that their issues are incoherently verbalized.  While their hiddenness does not equate with invisibility, local communities – either as ethnic pockets in host states or ancestral villages in source states – struggle to leverage a fully inclusive cultural diversity as they work toward local goals. Indeed a selective diversity is a contradiction.

The recent media coverage of the 2015 Miss Universe Japan not being "Japanese enough" makes us, yet again, pause and reflect on "Japaneseness."  This word has come to embody, on the one hand, Japan’s reluctant, internal-looking globalization (“it’s because we are Japanese”) or, on the other hand, Japan’s outward-yet-localized globalization (“Japaneseness is what we contribute to the world”).  Japaneseness is brought to the fore when the external influences the internal – uchinaru kokusaika or “internationalization within” (Ryhuhei 1985 cited in Morris-Suzuki 2010: 194; Chung 2010) – or when local and global influences seamlessly bear down on Japanese identity – or a “multiculturalism within” (Morris-Suzuki 2010:197-198).

But another equally important aspect to Japaneseness has received less attention – how can there be better understanding between the Japanese public and foreigner residents?  Thus it is important to find new pathways to understanding foreign residents – most specifically those segments of the foreigner community in Japan who may be viewed as “hidden migrant populations.”

These “hidden migrant populations” are difficult to study because consensus on a research framework is elusive.

By "hidden migrant populations" I refer specifically to three Filipino migrant groups as examples of these difficult-to-study populations:

1) "Bilogs" or irregular migrants (or those legally classified as outside formal society);

2) "Japayuki" or entertainers (or those within formal society but ascribed lower prestige);

3)  Japanese-Filipino children (JFCs, either disenfranchised or mal-integrated in varying degrees or both).

To illustrate my point, while sexual exploitation is a common theme about Filipina entertainers in Japan, some of the perspectives applied by researchers expound on this common theme as 1) inescapably reinforced and propagated by media representations (Suzuki 2011); 2) brought upon themselves by their informed choices (Sellek 2001); or 3) as both a limited choice between two evils and a staging point for subsequent employment in other sectors (Ballescas 1992, 2009).  These expositions and arguments point to social ontologies (what is real, what exists) based on holism (structures determine all else/i.e. Suzuki), individualism (active choices define structures/i.e. Sellek) or some middle point between holism and individualism (structures and individuals acting together define each other/i.e. Ballescas).

To be sure, a diversity of perspectives promotes a fuller engagement of a research topic.  However, if ontological (and thus methodological) assumptions of researchers remain incomplete or non-inclusive – or at worst remain implicit – their findings become debatable, encouraging opposing proponents to fixate on divergences rather than building upon convergent results.

Further complicating this fractured research approach is the social stigma latching onto members of these groups as they fulfill their multiple social identities (as breadwinners, as family heads, as community role models, etc.), making them reluctant respondents.

It is for these two reasons that I argue that bilogs, entertainers and JFCs are hidden migrant populations.

They are “hidden” not in the literal sense – as they in fact freely mingle and their issues and concerns actually make the public acutely aware of their presence – but in the sense that their (perceived) discordant formal or social status keeps them on the periphery of de facto "mainstream" research themes on migrant groups in Japan often involving those within formal structures (legal migrants and legitimized descendants) or those with ascribed high prestige (skilled migrants).

One course of action is to forge an inclusive research framework on hidden migrant populations that will allow proponents of various perspectives to collaborate and achieve synergy in their findings.  This is only the first step in “seeing” the hiddenness of bilogs, entertainers and JFCs – opening pathways to understanding their issues and concerns.  These opened pathways are realized not by forcing compliance to an externally-imposed research agenda, stunting the creative conceptualization of research questions by investigators trained in a multiplicity of perspectives.  The pathways are found at a more foundational level, that is, social ontologies and epistemologies and their ensuing methodologies (henceforth SOEM) that are open for constructive engagement by peers.  Engagement is enabled because first SOEM is now made explicit – making discussion points across various proponents now clearer – and second because research variables operationalized differently can now be systematically tackled by researchers with opposing perspectives.  In the end, this inclusive research framework (of all existing perspectives now with their respective SOEM declared) will allow a multi-disciplinary, multi-perspective and therefore a comprehensive and exhaustive understanding of hidden populations to emerge.

I experienced first-hand this dual disability during my own research on bilogs in Japan over a six year span (from 2009-2015).  My philosophical school of choice was (and still is) critical realism and I could not effectively configure my research to interface with the work of other researchers (wanting to focus my limited resources on still unresolved issues) because 1) SOEM assumptions of other related literature were not explicit and thus 2) variables I measured could not adequately dialogue with similar variables operationalized differently by other authors.  For example, my research developed an integrated framework explaining how migrant illegality is sustained over time and across both host and source states.  I could not fully test if the SOEM assumptions of my framework would remain valid when applied to a different hidden population (entertainers or JFCs) or if my framework is able to coherently accommodate new variables that may have been formulated with different, though implicit, SOEM assumptions of other authors.  Achieving “interoperability” or “external validity” of my research findings in both depth (increasing number of variables) and breadth (increasing number of hidden groups) is the logical next step, thus this current project.

continuing essay.....