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Individualization without Individualism: Compressed Modernity and Obfuscated Family Crisis in East Asia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explicates that the fundamental nature of East Asian modernity and late modernity has dictated a paradoxical process of individualization without individualism. East Asian modernity and late modernity are highly compressed, involving condensed changes with respect to time and space and a complex composition of disparate historical and spatial elements. East Asian families have functioned as a highly effective receptacle of compressed modernity and late modernity. It is as much due to the success of East Asian families as an engine of compressed modernity and late modernity as due to their failure that they have become functionally overloaded and socially risk-ridden. Individualization has thereby taken place irrespective of the formation of individualism as its spiritual and cultural basis. The chapter concludes with a brief comparative observation of the Japanese situation in order to emphasize that individualization without individualism is a broad East Asian phenomenon.

Keywords: compressed modernity; East Asian families; individualism; individualization; Japanese situation; late modernity



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