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Bringing back 'Japan'? Prime minister Abe's political rhetoric in critical perspective.

Pope, Chris (2017) Bringing back 'Japan'? Prime minister Abe's political rhetoric in critical perspective. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The thesis provides a detailed analysis of prime minister of Japan, Shinzō Abe’s, political rhetoric. Adopting a critical realist approach to the analysis of political discourse, the thesis aims to identify how Abe sought to legitimate the substantial changes to the state, its international conduct, and relationship with its citizens, including the reinterpretation of Article 9 of the constitution, Japan’s so-called ‘Peace Clause’. Abe returned to office in December 2012 promising to ‘bring back’ Japan, but under this aegis, the Abe administration has enacted wholesale changes to Japan’s social security, national economy and security agenda. While many of these changes are examined throughout, the thesis adopts depoliticization theory as an analytical tool and explanatory factor to discuss the changes in Japanese politics by parsing depoliticization into governmental, societal, and discursive forms. The analysis demonstrates how Abe relied on discursive depoliticization to legitimate changes by implementing a mixed-methods approach to discourse analysis using text-mining software to identify salient areas of speech, frame analysis to further characterize them, and critical discourse analysis for the micro-analysis of text. The thesis argues that Abe effectively depoliticized politically divisive issues by relying on the neoliberal account of globalization to justify substantial changes to Japan’s security agenda, economy and social infrastructure. In order to reveal the process of depoliticization, the discursive analysis is supplemented with an analysis of two major foreign policy initiatives of the Abe administration, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ‘Positive Pacifism’. These case studies enable us to conclude that, although Abe’s rhetoric is largely consistent with neoliberal doctrines, his administration’s actions reflect a neonationalist ideology and political realism aimed at expanding military and economic power to encircle China and increase Japan’s regional and international influence, while relying on depoliticizing tactics to legitimate the process of change underway.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of East Asian Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.718828
Depositing User: Mr Chris Pope
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 13:51
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17709

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