From cultural to social hybridity in Japan: towards new theoretical approaches to globalization

Hirofumi Utsumi (Otemon Gakuin University)
Kimio Ito
Anthropology and Sociology
Bloco 1, Piso 1, Sala 1.12
Start time:
31 August, 2017 at 16:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel is to discuss theoretically and empirically globalizing Japan based on the concept of cultural and social hybridity. It aims to reconsider the key concepts of sociology, including 'society', and globalize the research imagination of Japanese Studies.

Long abstract:

Modern Japan has been regarded as one of the most representative instances of exogenous development. Non Euro-American exogenous development including Japan has been considered to be a deviation from European or North-American endogenous development (Koto 2011), Modernization theories typically have taken this perspective. The rise of post-modernism gradually and the trend of globalization has dramatically changed such evaluation. Exogenous development theory has now become an important perspective for theorizing social development. The popularization of the concept of 'hybridity' in humanities and social sciences indicates the alternation of approach in order to understand contemporary globalization. The concept of 'hybridity' has been used for analyzing multiplicity or plurality of globalization since the 1990s (Ashcroft etc. 1989; GarcĂ­a Canclini 1990; Appadurai 1996; Pieterse 2004). Post-colonialism, cultural studies, and anthropology have developed theoretically and empirically an approach based on the concept of 'hybridity' of culture. The study of cultural hybridity has groped for a new approach to culture that is, on the one hand, sensitive to political-economical unequal relationships between cultures and, on the other hand, discreetly to avoid fixing or essentialising the boundary between cultures. Japanese Studies in many fields have also begun to adopt cultural hybridity approach for modern Japan (Nakaoka 2006; Gordon 2011). In addition to the theories of cultural hybridity, recent researches on contemporary globalization suggests that we need a theory of social hybridity, attending to the multiple or pluralistic constitution of society and the transborder interaction between macro societies. Yosuke Koto reconstructs the concept of society from the perspective of social hybridity, keeping the modern Japanese exogenous development in mind (Koto 2011). Not only in sociology but also in many disciplines including anthropology, geography, and history, some arguments on social hybridity that have a similar orientation have been emerging (Massey 2005; Ong 2006; Hunt 2014). Approaches to contemporary globalization show a convergence around the concepts of cultural and social hybridity. This panel is to discuss theoretically and empirically contemporary globalizing Japan based on the concept of cultural social hybridity. It aims to globalize the research imagination of Japanese Studies.