Consumer Politics in Postwar Japan: The Institutional by Patricia L. Maclachlan

By Patricia L. Maclachlan

Offering comparisons to the U.S. and Britain, this ebook examines Japan's postwar customer safety move. equipped mostly by way of and for housewives and spurred via significant instances of expense gouging and product illness, the move resulted in the passage of uncomplicated customer safety laws in 1968. even if a lot of the tale issues the recognized "iron triangle" of huge company, nationwide bureaucrats, and conservative celebration politics, Maclachlan takes a broader viewpoint. She issues to the significance of job on the neighborhood point, the function of minority events, the restricted software of the courts, and where of legal professionals and teachers in offering entry to strength. those light social concepts have led to an important volume of client protection.

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The era also witnessed the formation of the Consumer Federation of America (cfa), an umbrella group of 200 national and state organizations (Mayer 1989:43) responsible for coordinating consumer lobbying activities and organizing the annual national consumer conference known as the Consumer Assembly. The most widely recognized organizational development in the American consumer movement at this time was, of course, the appearance of Ralph Nader and his network of advocacy groups. Nader’s first foray into the public’s consciousness came in 1965 as the author of Unsafe at Any Speed, an expose´ of General Motors’ shoddy manufacturing standards.

While theorists working in this genre acknowledge that political opportunity structures are complex, multivariate entities, they differ on which variables should be included under the concept. Sidney Tarrow defines a pos as “consistent—but not necessarily formal, permanent, or national— signals to social or political actors which either encourage or discourage them to use their internal resources to form social movements” (Tarrow 1996:54). He identifies four such signals: the opening of access points into the political system; the development of unstable political alignments caused by such factors as electoral instability; the appearance of influential allies; and divisions in elites (pp.

Kitschelt’s analysis of antinuclear movements in Western Europe differs from that of many other studies of the pos genre in that it is mainly concerned with the policy effects of social movement activism, as opposed to the initial formation and subsequent lifecycles of movement organizations. Accordingly, Kitschelt devotes much of his study to analyzing the institutional arrangements that influence both the strategies available to social movement organizations and the impact of those strategies on the broad political environment.

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