What can we contribute?

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Mon, 8 Jan 1996 17:24:07 +0900

While developing ideas for a comparative study of Japanese and American
white-collar workers' responses to being restructured out of their jobs,
I have recently become aware of the growing range of political thinkers
whose work evokes ideas about "culture" and "values," which seem to be
emerging as hot topics on the op-ed pages I read. Examples include
Francis Fukuyama, _Trust_; Jeremy Rifkin, _The End of Work; Anthony
Sampson, _Company Man_; and, of course, Chalmers Johnson, James Fallows
and other "revisionists" who argue the need to understand the peculiarities
of Japanese culture against exponents of "rational choice" who, it appears,
attempt to explain everything political in terms of simple economistic

My reason for mentioning these works here is the observation that while
anthropologists have recently become very sensitive to power and political
issues, most of what I've read us saying seems lost in an eddy well outside
the mainstream in which our traditional concerns have become hot topics.Can
we contribute to mainstream debate? If so, how?

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)