Nagasaki University Priority Research Subject Project Based on Medium-term Goals and Plans

    Establishing Transdisciplinary Research Platform on “Risk Society” in Humanities and Social Sciences

    Project duration:FY 2017-2021
    Project leader:TAKIZAWA Katsuhiko, School of Global Humanities and Social Sciences (SGHSS)

    Purpose of the project

     As a sociologist U. Beck once pointed out, risks in the modern world have become more and more unforeseeable with an incredible number of factors complexly intertwined. While various levels of social catastrophes become more real, what kind of contribution can the humanities and social sciences make in order to realize a society where humankind could survive in the 21st century and people could live happily even 100 years later?
     According to Beck, modernity that has come as a consequence of industrialization in the modern age is characterized as “risk society.” In that, the sustainable development of modernity and the viability of the industrial society themselves include risks as its premise.
     It is often the case that such risks are evaluated from a natural-scientific perspective to explore a solution. The fact is, however, that scientific human agency itself is intricately linked with value, ethics, and faith. It is because philosophy, ethics, and religious statements themselves that question about “what happiness is” are naturally incorporated into science, as a “happy life” itself is built on the premise of science and technology and risk avoidance that would threaten it becomes a scientific mission. Scientific safety is also premised on the “faith” in social system itself that supports scientific safety, and social factors that threaten such premise (including fabrications, concealment, and possible abuses) exist in reality.
     Thus, risks specific to the modern world are intimately intertwined with natural-scientific factors and humanities-and-social-scientific factors, and to deal with it, interdisciplinary collaboration beyond the bounds of humanities and sciences should be necessary. However, it is the fact that the framework of such collaboration has yet to exist even within the humanities and social sciences before creating a fusion of humanities and social sciences. In order to respond to this, this study aims to establish a paradigm beyond the bounds of humanities and social sciences to see the “risk society,” with a view to collaboration with natural science.

    Specific research challenges to be addressed during the medium term

     During this Medium term, the following seven specific research challenges are set to establish a new methodology for collaboration beyond the bounds.
     In the first half of the term, when addressing these challenges, we will focus on defining the range and the limits in which specific fields of expertise could demonstrate the effectiveness. By defining the limits of each field, we will realize and identify the necessity and prospect of connecting observational noise in specific fields to expertise in other fields.
     In the second half of the term, by shifting emphasis to collaboration between specific fields of expertise and other fields and by conducting an interdisciplinary cooperative survey in specific fields, we will conduct an empirical analysis of complex risks beyond the bounds that can be realized with multi-layered factors intertwined to establish analysis framework for complex risks.
    I. Risks resulting from the global movement of people
    II. Risks resulting from nationalism and antiforeignism
    III. Risks resulting from religious beliefs
    IV. Risks resulting from economic disparities
    V. Risks resulting from educational inequity
    VI. Risks resulting from disasters
    VII. Risks resulting from disorderly governance after the war/during the systemic transformation

    Project members

    TAKZIAWA Katsuhiko SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Religious Studies
    SHUTO Toshikazu SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Sociology
    MINAMI Makoto SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Sociology
    Compel Radomir SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Comparative Politics
    SUZUKI Hideaki SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. History
    MIHARA Reiko SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Comparative Education
    KOMATSU Satoru SGHSS, Nagasaki Univ. Economics

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