2  Seminar Reports

“On the Necessity and Possibility of Scientific Area Studies: Approaches towards Ecology, Rural Development, and Environmental Issues”

February 7th 1:30p.m.  CSEAS  E-building 2nd floor Seminar Room


The following is a short report from this seminar.

Associate Professor Ando (CSEAS), the organizer of the seminar, opened the seminar by explaining the necessity of repetitive feedback between research and practice in area studies. 

Professor Furukawa (ASAFAS) presented his past research not only on the soil in lowland marshes in Indonesia, but on basic research incorporating socio-cultural aspects.  He extended his research to wider regions in Asia, culminating in his claim towards an eco-logical understanding.  He is determined to extend his labors to the recovery of degraded soil in his research area in Indonesia, and advocated a global area studies as a system of practical knowledge.

Professor Kaida (CSEAS) explained how his long-term rural community research in Dong Daeng village in Thailand was later applied and extended to his research in Bangladesh, in which he developed not only a participant research model through small-scale rural development enterprise, but to actual implementation of projects based on link models of the administration and rural communities.  He report to us his invaluable experience of rural development research incorporating involving basic research to its application and practice through JICA projects. 

Professor Ishida  (ASAFAS) reported on his twenty years of basic research investigating the causes of pollution.  While conducting research on pesticide pollution in tangerine farming as well as effects of pollution on Lake Biwa's fish, he has continued participation in activities to support the victims of pollution.  Based on such experience, he has investigated the environmental degradation of Aral Sea.  He claimed that once we adopt the standpoint of the victims, we can no longer confine ourselves to a specific research discipline.  

Based on these presentations, Prof. Ando suggested some topics for discussion.

1  Existing academic approaches can be characterized as Discovery & Analysis type.  Here, Prof. Ando suggests a spiral progress in which problem-seeking, analysis, and practice becomes an important mechanism for spiral progress based on experiential data.  Failure in the field feeds back to the process in which ideas are progressively modified.  The separation of research activities of problem-seeking and analysis on the one hand, and practice on the other, will lead away from understanding the core issues in a complex of problems.  We need to emphasize this connection between on-site practice and our knowledge and recognition of problems.