/ Sociologies in dialogue and Post-Western Theory

Seminar "Japanese Sociology and Post-Western Theory (2) : Traditions and Heritages" (with Daishiro Nomiya)

20 mars 2023, à l’ENS de Lyon, site Descartes, salle D4.260


9:30 -9:50 am  : introduction by Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Research Director at CNRS, HDR in sociology -French Director of International Advanced Laboratory (IAL) Triangle, ENS Lyon
 : Post-Western Sociology :traditions and legacies.

9:50 am-10:45 am  : Dai Nomiya, Professor of sociology at Chuo University, Tokyo-Director and Program Chair Global Sociology, Vice-president of the East Asian Sociological Association  :
Japanese Sociology and Historical Legacies
It was in the latter half of the 19th century when sociology as a discipline was introduced to Japanese academia. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 paved a way for a new and western-styled modernization of the country. Spencer’s theory of the evolution of society appealed well to intellectuals and political and industrial leaders in Japan, who firmly believed that Japan would soon catch up with the Western societies and become a military and scientific giant. Entering into 20th century, the Japanese intellectual adopted a more and varied genre of sociology from abroad. G. Simmel, F. Tönnies, and R. M. MacIver were successively introduced to Japanese academia, exposing what we call today formal sociology to the Japanese intellectuals. In later years, Marxist sociology and German cultural sociology came to be recognized as a way to promote the study of the state and classes in more concrete terms. Along with this movement came a new strategic change in the study of sociology : introduction of empirical and positivistic sociology. Introduction of Durkheim, especially his spirit of empirical rigor, may have pushed this trend further.
Post-war period Japan witnessed another unfolding of sociology as a discipline. Rapid socioeconomic development pushed Japanese sociologists to study the social development and associated societal change and social problems. Assisted by an avid import of American sociology, theories of modernization, social stratification, economic sociology, communication, social psychology as well as other subareas of sociology were in full bloom, giving sociology an impression of collected stature of many subdivided areas. Theories of sociology were also introduced one after another ; functionalism, conflict theory, exchange theory, symbolic interaction, phenomenological sociology, critical theory, ethnomethodology, etc.
It is true that even today, Japanese sociology continues to have followed Western sociological traditions. Apart from this trend, there appears to be a genre of academic practice that runs as an undercurrent of collective endeavor of Japanese sociologists. This undercurrent may set apart Japanese sociology from the Western sociology. That is, qualitative inquiry that puts an individual as the unit of analysis and observe mental and psychological dispositions in light of the social structure in which the individual is situated. Here, personal experiences, together with difficulties and unexpected incidents in life, are highlighted as an subject of study. Logical derivations, and clear explanations of the causes of the incidents are rather remote interest ; more, query remains what occurred in the eyes of the individual in question. The presentation also tried to pay attention to this “Japanese undercurrent.”

10 :45 -12 : 00 am  : discussion opened by :

  • Audrey Vézian, is Senior Researcher at CNRS, PhD in sociology, Triangle ENS Lyon. Her research interests are sociology of biomedicine and sociology of public action, the sociology of professions. Her research deals with the organization of biomedical activities and the processes of rationalization involved in this, and the processes of designing and implementing public healthcare policies. Her representative works are : Les politiques de lutte contre le cancer en France : regards sur les pratiques et les innovations médicales (Presses de l’EHESP, 2019), « The Regulation of Public Data : The Difficult Case of the Health Sector » in Digital Transformation and Public Policies, ISTE Science Publishing LTD, 2023.
  • Jérémy Jammes is Full Professor in Social Anthropology and Asian Studies at the Lyon Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Lyon), and Research fellow at the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO, UMR 5062). He is an active researcher specializing on East Asia and Southeast Asian geopolitics and religions. Among his books : Les Oracles du Cao Đài. Étude d’un mouvement religieux vietnamien 7 et de ses réseaux (Les Indes savantes, 2014), Muslim Piety as Economy : Markets, Meaning and Morality in Southeast Asia (edited with Johan Fischer, Routledge, 2020), Fieldwork and the Self : Changing Research Styles in Southeast Asia (edited with Victor T. King, Springer, 2021). He is co-editor-in-chief of a Routledge Series on “Study in Material Religion and Spirituality”.
  • Samir Hadj Belgacem is Associate Professor, PhD in sociology, University Jean Monnet (Saint- Etienne), and is attached to the Max Weber Center (Public Cultures Team). His research deals with the logics of electoral and partisan commitment in working-class neighborhoods and the political representation of minority fractions of the working classes. He recently published : with J.Taplin, H. Balazard, M.Carrel,S. Kaya, A. Purenne and G. Roux, L’épreuve de la discrimination. Enquête dans les quartiers populaires, PUF, 2021., ""De petits refus". Conflits associatifs avec la municipalité et engagement électoral dans les cités," Sociétés contemporaines, vol. 118, no. 2, 2020, pp. 51-78 and coedited with F. Nasri the book "La Marche de 1983. De la mémoire à l’histoire d’une mobilisation collective ", Nanterre, Presses Universitaires de Paris Nanterre, " Les passés dans le présent ", July 2018, 283 p.
/ Sociologies in dialogue and Post-Western Theory