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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #74: February 24, 2003

Japanese Journal of Political Science

Journal Name: Japanese Journal of Political Science:
May 2002, Vol. 3, No. 1

ISSN: 1468-1099


The Agent–Structure Debate and America's Vietnam Options: A Reply to Professor Gavan Duffy (pp1-23)
Yuen Foong Khong (Nuffield College, Oxford University, UK)
This article responds to Gavan Duffy's critique of Analogies at War in his recent essay on the agent-structure debate in the JJPS (2001, 2: 161–175). I argue that Duffy's use of Analogies at War to pursue his thesis about "giving structure its due" is flawed because he (1) fails to assess the book in terms of the outcomes it seeks to explain; (2) conflates "structure" with process, perceptual, and personality variables; (3) misinterprets my assumptions while neglecting the findings of recent works that corroborate the findings of Analogies at War; and (4) fails to demonstrate one of his key suggestions, i.e. the importance of showing how agents and structures are mutually constitutive. The article concludes by discussing some pointers raised by the exchange for furthering the agent-structure debate.

Why Are So Many Important Events Unpredictable? Self-Organized Criticality as the 'Engine of History' (pp25-44)
Gregory G. Brunk (Iowa, USA)
The nonlinear dynamical process of self-organized criticality provides a new 'theory of history' that explains a number of unresolved anomalies: Why are the really big events in human history usually unpredictable? Why is it impossible to anticipate sudden political, economic, and social changes? Why do distributions of historical data almost always contain a few extreme events that seem to have had a different cause from all the rest? Why do so many of our 'lessons of history' fail to predict important future events? As people, organizations, and nations become increasingly sensitive to each other's behavior, trivial occurrences sometimes propagate into sudden changes. Such events are unpredictable because in the self-organized criticality environment that characterizes human history, the magnitude of a cause often is unrelated to the magnitude of its effect.

State Rebuilding, Popular Protest and Collective Action in China (pp45-70)
Yongnian Zheng (East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Reforms in post-Mao China have led to the rise of social movements and collective action. The Falun Gong movement, a semi-religious movement, in particular has caught worldwide attention. Indeed, social protests have become a norm in China.

Local Government Development in France: Comparison with Japan (pp71-89)
Catherine Grémion (Directeur de recherches au CNRS, Centre de Sociologie des Organisations, France)
We will not try here to attempt a complete comparison of decentralized local government in France and Japan together with their respective impact on economic development, but rather to focus on some points which appear to be of particular significance for further reflection in order to learn from both cases.

Governing from the Centre: Core Executive Capacity in Britain and Japan (pp91-111)
Ian Holliday (Department of Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong) and Tomohito Shinoda (International University of Japan, Japan)
The article contributes to debates about core executive capacity by analyzing the British and Japanese cases. First it examines the historical development, contemporary structures and current operations of the two cases. Then it compares their performance in five key areas: overseeing government policy in the domestic sphere; overseeing government policy in the external sphere; managing executive relations with the legislature; overseeing public finances; and managing public relations. It finds that the performance of the two systems is variable both internally across distinct areas of business and, to a lesser extent, comparatively across similar areas. Overall, however, the British core executive is shown to have considerably greater capacity for coordinating and managing policy flows through the system than the Japanese. Governing from the centre is more feasible in Britain than in Japan.

Upper House Elections in Japan and the Power of the 'Organized Vote' (pp113-137)
Patrick Köllner (Institute of Asian Affairs, Germany)
Vote mobilization qua local and national organizations has played an important role in postwar Japanese elections for both Houses of Parliament. However, while there is an abundant literature on personal support organizations (kôenkai) of individual politicians in the Lower House, the role of national organizations for vote mobilization in Upper House elections has so far received only scant attention. The phenomenon of the 'organized vote' in postwar Upper House elections in Japan raises a number of questions. How important has it been in terms of voting behavior? What are the factors underlying organized voting? And how has the electoral clout of national organizations changed over time? This article tries to make a modest contribution to the debate on 'organized voting'. In particular, it addresses the proposition that the ability of national interest groups to mobilize votes has declined significantly. The main empirical point of reference in this article are the 2001 Upper House elections.

Japanese Journal of Political Science (2002), Cambridge University Press
Copyright ©2002 Cambridge University Press

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