Fachgruppensitzung Soziologie und Sozialanthropologie 2020

Organizers: Carola Hommerich (Sophia University), Nora Kottmann (DIJ Tokyo), Celia Spoden (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover)

Religious Atmosphere in Japanese Christian Space (Dunja Sharbat Dar, Ruhr Universität Bochum)

Atmospheres are ubiquitous forces of everyday life. Places and social situations are oftentimes explicitly ascribed an atmosphere (e.g. concerts, political events or celebrations), whilst in common social interactions, atmospheric qualities and moods also implicitly work by shaping relationships and conversations. A particular case is religious atmosphere or atmosphere of sacred space that people address in one way or the other as a component of their religious experience. Philosophers like Hermann Schmitz and Gernot Böhme have only recently started the academic discussion of atmosphere in the humanities.

In Japan, atmospheres are explicitly addressed as crucial elements in social interaction in cases of (mis-)communication in both scholarly and colloquial understanding. Both the critical concepts of kūki and fun’iki describe atmospheric conditions. These terms, however, must be carefully analysed against the backdrop of nihonjinron, although they are important examples of the emic understandings of atmosphere.

Even though researchers in the Anglophone, German and Japanese academic discussion have tried to develop approaches to theoretically and methodologically grasp (religious) atmospheres, a social scientific approach is still missing. This project analyses Japanese Christian space in Japan on basis of a theoretical concept that takes into consideration the socio-spatial arrangement of churches during religious practice. The presentation was based on considerations prior to planned fieldwork, and illustrated the state of art of the research field religious atmosphere, theories and concepts useful for the analysis and lastly, methodological approaches to investigate atmospheres.

Japan’s discursive struggle over climate change (Florentine Koppenborg, School of Public Policy, Technical University Munich; Ulv Hanssen, Faculty of Law, Soka University)

This paper situated Japan’s climate policy in the international climate security debate by analysing two competing climate change discourses and how they compare to those in other countries.

Japan, located in a region highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, has suffered from a string of extreme weather events in recent years. The Japanese Government has for a long time taken a lukewarm approach to the issue of climate change, but in 2020, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE) included the term ‘climate crisis’ [kikō kiki] for the first time in its annual white paper. This seems to indicate the emergence of a climate change securitisation discourse, which treats climate change as a security issue rather than merely a conventional political issue. In sharp contrast, the white paper produced by the far more business-friendly Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) represents a corporatist discourse, and warns of a very different crisis – a ‘supply crisis’ [kyōkyū kiki], which refers to a hypothetical scenario in which the Japanese economy is damaged by an oil supply stop. Through a discourse analysis of the MOE and METI white papers and a review of the literature on climate security discourses in other countries, this paper created a climate securitization matrix. By contrasting Japan’s climate discourses climate change securitization, this paper showed that the MOE clearly moved to securitize the issue, but Japan overall remains far behind those who have declared a “climate emergency” in 2019, such as the UK and the EU.