Governance wo Toinaosu I & II (Reconsidering Governance volume I: The evolution of border-crossing theories / volume II: Reform politics in changing markets and societies)
This book (two volumes) constitutes a comprehensive summary of the research outcomes of the institute-wide joint research project “Reconsidering Governance” conducted from 2010 to 2015 by the Institute of Social Science, the University of Tokyo. The Institute of Social Science has continuously conducted interdisciplinary institute-wide joint research projects on important issues facing Japanese and global society, starting with the theme of “Basic Human Rights” (1964-1969), followed by “Post-war Reform” (1969-1975), “Fascism and Democracy” (1972-1980), “The Welfare State” (1979-1985), “Modern Japanese Society” (1985-1990), “20th Century System” (1992-1998), “The Lost Decade?” (1999-2006), “Comparative Regionalism” (2005-2009), and the “Social Science of Hope (kibōgaku)” (2005-2009). This series of projects provide fixed-point observations of post-war Japanese society over the long term and are a central pillar of the institute’s research activity. This book offers the latest findings of these observations.
“Governance” as a framework for discussion began to rapidly gain popularity both in Japan and internationally in the latter half of the 1990s. Today, the concept of governance is used in discussions in a wide range of fields of study. That said, what does the simultaneous development of governance theory in different fields mean? How effective is “governance” as a framework for discussion in terms of analyzing and identifying approaches to resolving the various issues faced by Japan and the world? These questions have been ignored in existing governance theory. The goal of the “Reconsidering Governance” project, then, was to consciously focus on these questions, to identify factors that led to the adoption “governance” as a framework for discussion, and to reexamine the effectiveness of this framework.
Among the diverse accomplishments presented in this book, the following are especially important. First, the research project opens new horizons for governance theory by clarifying the thematic importance of “reproduction” within the framework of “governance” from multiple perspectives. Second, compared to conventional governance theory, which assumes the pre-established harmony of horizontal networks and cooperation as well as their effectiveness, this book shines a light on the unequal realization of some benefits due to private power relationships and public authority, identifies aspects of asymmetrical power structure and conflicts that are generally intrinsic to governance, and delves deeply into legitimacy as related to governance and the nature of democracy. Third, building on the previous two points and as is evident from the book’s table of contents, the book provides concrete analysis of and present various approaches for resolving the myriad problems facing Japan and the world today.
The book contributes “comprehensive knowledge in the area of social sciences” generated through open discussion by researchers in diverse fields of social science including jurisprudence, political science, economics, and sociology, while making full use of each researcher’s expertise. It is my firm belief that this book will be intellectually stimulating for researchers, students, and the general public alike with an interest in governance theory and individuals who are just beginning to enter the field.
(Written by SATO Iwao, Professor, Institute of Social Science / 2018)