Early-Career Scholar Forum

Contradiction as Injustice: How Senses of Inequality Differ Across National Contexts

Friday, 21 January 2022 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Yuki Asahina Assistant Professor, Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
  • Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director

Similar levels of inequality may be coded as acceptable or unacceptable in different places. To account for misrecognition of inequality, the existing studies highlight the roles of ideological legitimation and situated comparison through which individuals read inequality around them, but these accounts can be further elaborated upon. This paper argues that it is neither the belief in ideology nor social comparison alone but rather the relationship between the two which shapes particular ways in which inequality is experienced. The dominant collective narratives rooted in macro-level contexts and individuals’ situated comparisons shape perceptions of the contradiction (or lack thereof) between how people think things should be and how things are in three specific ways. The proposed framework is put to use with interviews with 98 millennials in Japan and South Korea.


Yuki Asahina is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of International and Area Studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. He specializes in inequality, globalization, and right-wing groups in East Asia. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript analyzing precarious youth in Korea and Japan.