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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Deviance and Norms in Times of Change in Japan

VSJF Conference 2022; November 18 - 20, 2022


University of Zurich, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Room RAA G01 (Aula), Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich


Please register here:

Closing date: Sunday, November 6, 2022


Japan has been considered a modern society of strict social norms and high levels of social integration that led to low levels of deviant behavior and conspicuously homogeneous life courses. However, since the 1990s, Japan's former success model is in deep crisis. The economy is stagnating, fertility is very low, population is (over)ageing and decreasing, the employment model is becoming frayed, and public debates are dominated an outcry over social equality and a crime panic. The dire need of reforms and the inability to reform are marking political discussions. Overall, the future viability of many social norms is increasingly questioned.

This conference will analyze deviance and norms in times of change in Japan. Deviance is understood not only as negative norm violation like e.g., criminality, but also as positive deviance of progressive norm transgression that may lead to social change and a redefinition of social norms. The conference will address classical questions of deviance research in current Japan: Is the perception of norms and deviance changing? Are norms and deviance redefined? Is control of deviant behavior undergoing change? How are social actors pushing for such changes? The conference allows not only to gain a full picture of deviance in current Japan, but to understand Japanese society from this perspective. It will address six topics that are especially relevant and interesting concerning deviance in current Japan: transnationalization, private life, youth, political norms, labor market, and social control.

Contact for queries and further information


Prof. Dr. David Chiavacci (University of Zurich)

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Vogt (LMU München)


Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies - Japanese Studies