Senshu University Center for Social Capital Studies
|The purpose of the research |

 In the midst of the world economic crisis, East Asian countries and societies are facing tremendous challenges to cope with increasing globalization and insecurity of living conditions. Such a crisis requires a serious re-consideration of the excessive, profit-seeking economic expansion, which has fragmented societies, discouraged social cohesion, and rendered people’s lives vulnerable. There is a greater need to seek new visions for sustainable development by examining what would, or would not, enhance social networks based on trust and mutual reciprocity, which we may call social capital.


|Summary | Research Perspectives |

 The participating researchers are from a variety of academic disciplines, including economics, commerce, sociology, politics, and history; and they have a wide range of research interests such as environment, community, business, public finance, social risks, disasters, public health, education, security, gender, sports, and social movements. To promote interdisciplinary analyses and discussions, the project tries to approach social capital studies from three inter-related perspectives,Community, Security, and Civil Society. Each forms a thematic sub-group.


 In the increasingly globalizing world, the importance of community as a locus of economic, commercial, and social activities could increase in attempts to meet the needs of local societies. Involvement of local people in social enterprises or various community activities (for sports, community environment, for example) might serve for improved social relations based on trust and mutual reciprocity in the community. Such a community may also play its role in the provision of safety net for its members, in particular, those who need help, in cooperation with governmental departments.


 Concentration of population in big cities in the process of. economic growth inevitably causes a variety of environmental and social problems, which make the community vulnerable to risks such as earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorism, infectious diseases, food poisoning, defective merchandises and unemployment.We focus on the potentials of social capital in dealing with such social risks, in addition to the conventional focus on the improvements of urban infrastructure.

Civil Security

 In a highly globalized and changing world, a simple restoration of traditional values and social mechanisms such as community and family ties would not be constructive. It is ecessary to look for a new and desirable form of civil society, balancing private and public interests, through analyses of the roles of the individual, family, community, and government. An emphasis will be placed on the roles of voluntary associations of individual citizens, which mediate between the private and public spheres.