- ソシオロジ (ISSN:05841380)
- vol.48, no.2, pp.73-89,154, 2003
This paper aims to analyze the narratives of so-called "freeters" and their unintended consequences. Freeters are young people who work on a part-time basis without securing a permanent job. They are currently the focus of much discussion in Japan and their way of life is often associated with laziness, irresponsibility, and daydreaming. To avoid ascribing the entire problem to freeters' nature, I point out the significance of a social discourse that leads them to their unique lifestyle. Freeters often emphasize that they are doing (or trying to find) what they really want to do. Their choice of work is based on their belief that having an enjoyable job will prevent them from quitting. They evaluate freeters who have or are trying to find their dream job as "good" and freeters who do not have such a motivation as "bad." It is, however, ironic that their obsession with "what I want to do" makes it more difficult for them to achieve their goals.This unintended consequence is a result of three factors. The more they are fascinated with the idea of "what I want to do," the more it becomes difficult a) for them to identify what their goals really are, b) for them to change their lifestyle, and c) for others to suggest different ways of life.The narratives of freeters, and especially their stress on "what I want to do," imply that they have no other choice than to find it, facing the fact that the working conditions in Japanese society are severe and that there is little variety in the jobs that are available to them.