Returning home: College graduates' senses of place and career in Japan
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This dissertation first examines the effect of area as a cultural factor besides educational and occupational opportunities on the phenomenon of returning home for female and male university graduates in Japan when enrolling in university and starting work, using statistical analysis. Second, it proceeds to examine personal narratives to explore how university graduates from the Kyushu area in Japan situate their place and hometown when they make decisions about education, work, and later life, and how such decisions differ by gender. Studies on geographic mobility have often been concerned with the move from rural hometowns to cities (leaving home) in terms of social, economic, and cultural dynamics, but rarely interested in returning home in the same framework. On the other hand, returning home has been examined as a personal matter, not as an issue of social dynamics. Therefore, I examine the dynamics of returning and staying home with both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative phase of my study examines how the phenomenon of returning and staying home differs by area, controlling for educational and occupational opportunities. Because the statistical study suggests that women tend to stay in or return to their hometowns compared to men both in enrolling in university and starting work in the Kyushu area, I explore the reasons by undertaking qualitative interviews with Japanese young people, who grew up in Kyushu. The qualitative phase of my study explores senses of place as a theoretical framework. My study argues that how people make decisions relates to their senses of place, and explores how the senses of place differ by gender.