Table of Contents

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture

What it Means to Take Japan Seriously

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture brings together Ronald Dore’s key writings for the first time, making his work accessible across a wide range of social science disciplines. It produces a distinctive perspective with four interlinking themes – technology-driven social evolution, late development, culture and polemics. These are highly topical in the current context of rapid technological innovation and socio-economic change, globalization and accompanying policy choices.

Introduction

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, economics and finance, asian economics, evolutionary economics

Extract

05/12/2000 12:49 Page 1 Introduction D. Hugh Whittaker Ever since he first arrived in Japan in 1950, Ronald Dore’s fascination with the ‘real world’ has generated a rich and distinctive scholarship, appreciated by readers in many social science disciplines. That he has made enormous contributions to our understanding of modern Japan is without doubt. But his contributions extend to the fields of development, education, political economy, sociology and more. The breadth of this scholarship, however, means that most readers only see a piece of the proverbial ‘elephant’. The first aim of this book is to present the various pieces and show how they fit together. This is not something that can be done simply with scissors and paste. It means trying to identify common themes and underlying orientations, a task not helped by the fact that Dore’s fascination with interpreting the ‘real world’ has been far greater than any desire to advance any theoretical or methodological ‘school’, or found one around himself. (He laughs off labels like ‘neo-institutionalist’ which some have tried to identify him with.) Yet most readers will know that there is something in his work that goes beyond a keen eye for detail, jargon-free description and rigorous use of logic for analysis. A second aim of this book is to identify what this something is and assess its contribution to social science. First I make my own attempt. This Introduction provides a biographical sketch which shows how his research interests developed and the context in which...