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Seminars & Symposiums

1st Interdisciplinary Anthropology Workshop

2009-10-15 (Thu) 4:20 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

"Democracy in the 21st Century -- What can be Clarified by an Anthropological Approach?"

Intent of this workshop: In these modern times when global governance and the structure of the economic system beyond the unit of the nation state, the importance of thinking about concepts and the system of democracy seems to be increasing.

If it is not true that the democracy applies only to the modern representative system based on the nation state unit, it is possible that democracy will extend into various areas.

Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt view the possibility of democracy in multitudes against the [new] Empire and Bruno Latour advocates a new democracy expanding to things beyond human/non-human.  Thus, a radical reexamination of democracy is being conducted.

Under such circumstances, what does anthropology have to offer democracy? There seems to be a strained relationship between the anthropological approaches emphasizing specific, internal social viewpoints and democracy which originated in another area of the West but has been presented as a universal concept.

Despite such a strained relationship, anthropological research into democracy has proceeded. That means, the question of how democracy is understood by anthropological approaches can be related to broader questions of anthropology: in what way(s) can anthropology provide us with views to understand the modern world?

Two lecturers have been invited to speak in this workshop: TANABE Akio and KATO Atsufumi. Both have researched democracy through anthropological approaches. The lecturers will present talks based on their research.

The lectures will be followed by a discussion between them and a commentator, NAKAGAWA Osamu.

This workshop focuses on the speeches of two lecturers, who share a certain viewpoint but have different opinions, aiming to examine the modern world from the viewpoint of where democracy and anthropology intersect and discuss this.

The organizers hope that many will take part in what promises to be an exciting seminar.

Brief bios:

TANABE Akio, professor at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University. He has studied India and developed a theory finding possibilities of an alternative democracy in 'politics of relationships' and 'moral society' which is different from the 'politics of liberation' in 'civil society' and the 'politics of demand' in a 'political society.

Major publications:

  • "Democracy -- In order to Live Together Granting Independence," See the World through Anthropology -- Medical Care, Life, Politics and Economics compiled by KASUGA Naoki, MINERVA Publishing Co., Ltd. (2008)
  • "Toward Vernacular Democracy: Moral Society and Post-postcolonial Transformation in Rural Orissa, India" American Ethnologist, 34(3): 558-574 (2007)

KATO Atsufumi, special researcher PD at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Nanzan University. He has studied participatory democracy in Vietnam and developed his theory from the viewpoint attempting to correct an understanding of the creation of democratic governance while maintaining a certain distance from seeking for an alternative concept.
Major publications (on participatory democracy and self-management):

  • "History of a People regarding Moral Governance  -- Residents in Central Vietnam Villages Living in the Era of Self-management" (doctor's thesis, submitted to the Graduate School of Humanities, Osaka University, 2009)
  • "At the Site of Ruins of Mobilization and Solidarity -- How Moral Governance is told in Villages in Vietnam in the Self-Management Era," Post-utopia Anthropology, compiled by ISHIZUKA, TANUMA, and TOYAMA, Jimbunshoin (2008)


NAKAGAWA Osamu, specially appointed lecturer at the Global Collaboration Center, Osaka University

Date: 2009-10-15 (Thu) 4:20 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Organizer: Anthropology, Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Interdisciplinary Anthropology Workshop Office
Venue: Room East 106, Human Sciences Building,Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University
Registration: Not required.
Contact: Mr. KUBO Akinori

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