Everyday Justice: Responsibility and the Individual in Japan and the United States

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Yale University Press, Aug 1, 1994 - Political Science - 290 pages
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It is a fundamental human impulse to seek restitution or retribution when a wrong is done, yet individuals and societies assess responsibility and allocate punishment for wrongdoing in different ways. This book investigates how average citizens in the United States and Japan think about and judge various kinds of wrongdoing, how they determine who is responsible when things go wrong, and how they prefer to punish offenders.

 

Drawing on the results of surveys they conducted in Detroit, Michigan, and Yokohama and Kanazawa, Japan, the authors compare both individual and cultural reactions to wrongdoing. They find that decisions about justice are influenced by whether or not there seems to be a social relationship between the offender and victim: the American tendency is to see actors in isolation while the Japanese tendency is to see them in relation to others. The Japanese, who emphasize the importance of role obligations and social ties, mete out punishment with the goal of restoring the offender to the social network. Americans, who acknowledge fewer "ties that bind” and have firmer convictions that evil resides in individuals, punish wrongdoers by isolating them from the community. The authors explore the implications of "justice among friends” versus "justice towards strangers” as approaches to the righting of wrongs in modern society. Their findings will be of interest to students of social psychology, the sociology of law, and Japanese studies.

 

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Contents

One The Problem of Responsibility
3
Figures
11
Three Culture and the Socialization Process
48
A Research Agenda
75
Experiments in Surveys
89
Stories Involving Authority
106
The Evidence
110
Negligent or Intentional Acts
115
Eight Is Crime Special? Offenses against Strangers
157
Nine Empirical Conclusions
179
Ten Legal Structure Legal Culture and Convergence
186
Eleven The Problem of Justice
203
Appendix A Summary of the Story Versions
219
Appendix B Punishment Questions
236
Notes
247
References
259

Solidarity by City
125
Seven Punishment
135
Index of Authors Cited
281
Copyright

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Page ii - If all mankind, minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

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About the author (1994)

V. Lee Hamilton is professor of sociology at the University of Maryland. Joseph Sanders is professor of law at the University of Houston.

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