Jahrestagung 2018


23. bis 25. November 2018, Japanisch-Deutschen Zentrum Berlin (JDZB)
Ausrichter: Verena Blechinger-Talcott und Cornelia Reiher (Freie Universität Berlin), und Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin (JDZB)


On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, its annual conference sets out to analyze and discuss the role of the social sciences in Japan and Germany, with a particular emphasis on social science research on Japan. In times of neo-liberal reforms and related budget cuts, within universities and research institutes, but also in society as a whole, debates about the role of research in society, the legitimacy of academic research or the valorization of research outcomes intensified. Scholars and academic institutions increasingly face demands to produce “relevant knowledge” beyond academic debates and to prove the value of research for society.

While within academia, scholars discuss the role of third party funding for academic research and related risks for academic freedom, in broader society, questions are raised about the degree to which academic work is serving, or should serve, “societal needs”.

Therefore, this conference aims 1) to discuss the challenges to social science research in the context of these contestations as concerned scholars and 2) to analyze role perceptions of social scientists visa-vis policy makers and society. Speakers from Japan and Europe will address the following questions: What are the core challenges for the social sciences in both countries? How do social scientists in both countries address these challenges? How do social scientists in both countries perceive their roles as scholars? How can the impact of their research on society be assessed? What kind of new forms of knowledge (production) emerge(d) from interactions between academia and society?

PROGRAM for the VSJF Annual Conference 2018
Social Science Research and Society in Japan and Germany:
Impact, Institutions and Perspectives

Friday, November 23 – Sunday, November 25, 2018
at the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB),
Saargemuender Str. 2, 14195 Berlin

as of November 14, 2018

(November 22 and 23: Gender-Workshop)

Friday, November 23

14.30 – 15.00 Registration

15.00 – 15.30 Welcome

Verena BLECHINGER-TALCOTT and Cornelia REIHER (Freie Universität Berlin)
Anke Scherer (VSJF)

15.30 – 17.00 Roundtable Discussion: Social Sciences-Society Relations in Japan and Germany:
Challenges and Opportunities Chair: Verena BLECHINGER-TALCOTT (Freie Universität Berlin)

Kenneth MORI MCELWAIN (University of Tokyo)
Joanna PPFAFF-CZARNECKA (Bielefeld University)
Marie SÖDERBERG (Stockholm School of Economics)
Iris WIECZOREK (IRIS Science Management Inc./GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies Hamburg)

17.00 – 17.30 Coffee break

17.30 – 18.45 30th Anniversary of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan: Social Science Research on Japan in Germany between Academia and Society Chair: Anke SCHERER (VSJF)

The Foundation of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan Revisited
Gesine FOLJANTY-JOST (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)
Ulrich TEICHLER (University of Kassel)

Roundtable Discussion: The Future of Social Science Research on Japan in Germany
Klaus VOLLMER (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München)
David CHIAVACCI (University of Zurich)
Cosima WAGNER (Freie Universität Berlin)
Ludgera LEWERICH (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

18.45 – 19:00 Award Ceremony for the First Biannual Contemporary Japan Best Paper Prize Presenter: Isaac GAGNE (Contemporary Japan)

19.00 Dinner

Saturday, November 24

09.30 – 11.00 Panel 1 – Social Science Research on Japan in Germany: Impact and Sustainability in a Changing Environment Chair: Franz WALDENBERGER (DIJ Tōkyō)

Social Institutional Change in Japan: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives
Karen SHIRE (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Research on civil society in Japan: what is it good for?
Gesine FOLJANTY-JOST (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)

Transferring Japanese Management Concepts – Impact on company practices: Some reflections on personal experiences

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 13.00 Panel 2 – Societal Challenges and Scholarship: Expert and Lay Relations Chair: Gabriele VOGT (Universität Hamburg)

Citizen Science and Food in Japan: From Ui Jun to Fukushima
Cornelia REIHER (Freie Universität Berlin)

Designing Local Democracy: Institutional Reform Proposals for Local Elections and Assemblies in Japan
Ken HIJINO (Kyōto University)

Care Robots in Japan as Socio-Technical Systems and Objects of (Inter)National Techno-Orientalistic Debates
Cosima WAGNER (Freie Universität Berlin)

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 16.00 VSJF Section Meetings – Part 1 (Sitzungen der Fachgruppen – Teil 1) Program + Abstracts

16.00 – 16.15 Break

16.15 – 17.30 VSJF Section Meetings – Part 2 (Sitzungen der Fachgruppen – Teil 2) Program + Abstracts

17.30 – 18.00 Coffee break

18.00 – 19.30 General Meeting of the VSJF

19.30 Dinner

Sunday, November 25

09.30 – 11.00 Panel 3 – Scholars‘ Changing Roles in Japan: Expert Knowledge and Society Chair: Annette SCHAD-SEIFERT (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

The Twentieth Century Global System and Japanese International Relations
Ki’ichi FUJIWARA (Tōkyō University)

Social Inequality in Japanese Society
Hiroshi ISHIDA (Tōkyō University)

11.00 – 11.30 Wrap-Up and Final Discussion

Verena BLECHINGER-TALCOTT (Freie Universität Berlin)
Cornelia REIHER (Freie Universität Berlin)

11.30 End of Conference