Robert Scott North (1994)

Associate Professor of Sociology, Osaka University, Japan

Since leaving Berkeley in 2002, I have been a professor in the Department of Sociology, School of Human Sciences, at Osaka University. In this land of the over-worked, I study worker health and well-being, and social movements that fight to improve Japanese life at work and at home. Death from overwork (karoshi) is a long-running interest, as is the gender division of labor. Recently I've been studying leisure, of the reasons for the lack thereof, adding a third leg that provides stability to my work-famliy stool. Teaching (and professoring) in Japan is endlessly fascinating, like a trip back in time. The sociological paradigm often seems firmly stuck in early 1960s American abstracted empiricism; Parsonian functionalism and its theories of pattern maintenance remain popular, for they do appear to explain the persistent power of certain social structures in Japanese life. We are always told that change is just around the corner, but it never fully arrives. The 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Northeast Japan, however, liberated social forces that may hasten some long-overdue reforms. Japan's people seem to have grown tired of taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Dissertation Title: 
Gender Prejudice and Men's Family Work in Japanese Twin-Career Marriages
Dissertation Book Title: 
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