Local Commons and the Environment

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30-17:20

Language: English

Session organized by the Japan Sociological Society

In Japan, although the first successful case of rapid modernization among
non-Western countries, some local areas still have a history of managing and utilizing
of traditional local commons called an iriai institution in Satoyama as well as some
types of local commons in Pacific islands and tropical Asia. We are facing serious
environmental crisis and hazards by the strong pressure of privatization and the market
under globalization. With these social and historical backgrounds as a non-Western
society, Japanese sociology has developed unique and fruitful achievements of studying
local commons, the environment, and sustainability. Studying local commons presents
excellent opportunities for thinking about varieties of stimulating current theoretical
topics as well as suggesting local practices, for example, a way of traditional thinking
and indigenous concepts regarding commons, wise use of communal resources, ingroup
and outgroup relationship, varieties and types of ownerships of
private-communal-public, types and roles of local actors and their legitimacy,
environmental governance, environmental justice, and the interaction between the local
community and globalizing world. Lessons from managing and utilizing local commons
will be greatly helpful to design and plan the new way of reactivating the 3.11 Tsunami
severely devastated area in Tohoku, Japan. Tentative topics in this session which the
Japan Sociological Society has proposed are first, tackling environmental issues from
the theoretical perspective of local commons, second, comparative studies on the
relationship between traditional and modern water/forestry management systems and
community life, and finally building the sociological bridges between Japan and the
underdeveloped area in Pacific islands and tropical Asia.

Session Organizer:
Koichi HASEGAWA, Tohoku University, Japan
Margaret MCKEAN, Duke University, USA
Oral Presentations