Seijo University Research Branding Project
Project to establish and promote a world-leading glocal-studies center that contributes toward a sustainable and inclusive society
Seijo University intends to build upon its pioneering work in the field of glocal studies with the "Project to Establish and Promote a World-leading Glocal-studies Center that Contributes toward a Sustainable and Inclusive Society". It will outline a vision of an inclusive society, one that accommodates multicultural, multifaceted, and multilayered lives and values. It will also clarify ways of creating the individual and social resilience needed to underpin such a society. The insights yielded by this project will be used to benefit the university’s flagship high-quality liberal-arts education. In this manner, the project will help establish and promote the university as a leading center for research and education on glocal studies, and as a place that fosters the resilience necessary to thrive in tomorrow’s society.
The relentless march of qualitative and quantitative globalization has realigned many aspects of human life, including our political systems, economies, and cultures. Sociocultural injustice and inequality have spread and become entrenched at an international scale, prompting a search for solutions to these problems. One example of such is Horizon 2020, a research and innovation program launched by the European Commission in 2014. Among other things, Horizon 2020 aims to build an inclusive society that alleviates poverty and inequality. To this end, it has outlined a model of the necessary human talent, as well as educational strategies to foster such talent.
Against this social and research backdrop, our project will contribute to an inclusive society with a view to addressing the challenges that the world faces today. Like Horizon 2020, this project also seeks to outline a new model of the human talent necessary to bring about such a society.
As societies around the world become ever more complexly intertwined, global issues are much more likely to become local issues, while the challenges local communities face are more likely to become globalized. The term “glocalization” was coined to describe this process, in which globalization occurs synchronously and interactively with localization. The globalized world has primarily been centered on Western industrialized countries. As such, it has resulted in wealth disparities and asymmetrical power relationships, which are the leading causes of global instability.
It is therefore more important than ever to adopt a glocal approach, one that considers the more marginal—or “local”—perspectives of countries other than Western industrialized ones. Having grasped the importance of both global and local perspectives, we outlined a vision of a society that emerges in the interplay between the global and the local—an inclusive society that accommodates multicultural, multiangled, and multilayered lives and values. We also proposed a project to pioneer a new field of inquiry called glocal studies, to explore the practices of individuals and communities that could contribute toward such a society.
Our project to pioneer this new glocal-studies area, something that put us ahead of other universities around the world, was selected for the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Techonology) - Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities. The specific category was “research for core research bases.” With the support of this funding, the project continued for two terms over eight years. In that time, we achieved significant outcomes. For example, the project yielded empirical findings on the nature of glocalization in various contexts. It also yielded theoretical models of glocalization, which have provided insights into how we may rectify the problems that have resulted from rampant globalization.
However, the project did not go so far as to clarify a vision of a better society or to identify the human talent necessary for bringing it about. The present project will address these shortfalls. First, the project will outline a vision of an inclusive society that accommodates multicultural, multifaceted, and multilayered lives and values. To this end, the project supports a form of glocal inquiry that is oriented toward an increasingly globalized (glocalized) future. The research will be divided into six fields: Livelihood resources, Cultural resources, Bodily resources (body as socio-cultural resources), Human resources, Environmental resources, and Financial resources.
Second, the project will outline “resilience”—a concept describing the human qualities conducive to an inclusive society, including the skills to flexibly engage in society. Ultimately, the project will clarify methods to deploy research findings into pedagogical practice, so that we can advance glocal studies at an international level, and help Seijo University brand itself as a university that fosters resilience.
The research results we expect include direct outputs, indirect outcomes, and broader impacts (or ripple effects).
There will be three direct outputs:
1.The project will clarify the glocalization phenomenon and the dynamics of the sociocultural inequality related to such.
2.The project will clarify the resource trends in the glocalization era and how power relations are distributed based on a center/margin dichotomy.
3.The project will present a vision of an inclusive society and clarify how resilience is the key quality that individuals and communities require to achieve this vision.
Research teams in the six fields (livelihood resources, cultural resources, bodily resources, human resources, environmental resources, and financial resources) will aim to deliver these three outputs. For the first output, they will clarify the glocalization phenomenon and the dynamics of the expanding sociocultural inequality related to such. For the second output, they will empirically demonstrate the unequal wealth distribution and the asymmetric power structure, particularly through the lens of the center/margin dichotomy. For the third output, they will focus on solutions for this schema; specifically, they will present theoretical insights into the social and cultural resilience necessary for building an inclusive society. These direct outputs will form the foundation on which to establish a world-class center for glocal studies.
There will be three indirect outcomes:
1.The project will help outline the key competencies of resilient individuals and guide curriculum development.
2.The project will help Seijo University develop a form of project-based learning that could only be possible in a university that integrates humanities and social sciences.
3.The project will showcase a model for a high-quality liberal-arts education, one that is grounded in the local communities of Tokyo, and will contribute to such communities through project-based education.
Western universities, as part of their efforts to promote responsible research and innovation, have explored methods of fostering highly competent human talent with broad perspectives. For individuals to meet this mark, they must understand and master social and cultural resilience. That is why the project is designed to produce the first indirect outcome—to broadly communicate the key competencies needed in tomorrow’s world and to provide findings that can guide the development of curricula that will foster such competencies. As the second indirect outcome, the project will help Seijo University develop a form of project-based learning that could only be possible in a university that integrates humanities and social sciences.. Third, the project will contribute to the local community.
There are two broader impacts:
1.The project will lead to the establishment of a world-class center for glocalization research and education.
2.The project will help Seijo University brand itself as a university that fosters resilient individuals.
The synergy between the direct outputs and indirect outcomes will produce the broader impacts; namely:
1.Seijo University will gain recognition in Japan and overseas as a world-class center for glocalization education and research.
2.The university will gain recognition for its unique education and research frameworks related to glocal studies and resilience, helping establish the Seijo brand.
Our branding strategy under the project will focus on three channels: research, education, and local contributions.
Regarding the first branding channel, research, we will use international symposia, publications, and online media to actively and broadly advertise the fact that Seijo University pioneered glocal studies ahead of other universities around the world. Our lecture meetings, symposia, and other such gatherings will be open to the public. The research findings will be communicated as part of a focused and intensive publication campaign.
The publications will include the Center for Glocal Studies’ (CGS) Journal of Glocal Studies, Seijo Glocal Studies in Society and Culture, the Seijo CGS Reports, and the Seijo CGS Working Paper Series. The findings will also be presented to a global audience at international conferences, in international academic journals, and in other academic publications.
As part of this strategy, we have established, or are working to establish, collaborative frameworks with universities around the world. Currently, we have entered, or plan to enter, research partnerships with Thammasat University (Thailand), the University of Guadalajara (Mexico), the University of Munich (Germany), Monash University (Australia), the University of Wisconsin System (USA), Strasbourg University (France), the University of Sheffield (UK), and Tsinghua University (China). During the term of the project, international symposia will be held every year at Seijo University or at one of the partner universities.
In 2017 and 2018, the university held two symposia with UNESCO bodies—namely, the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage and the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI). Both symposia concerned intangible cultural heritage and introduced glocal-studies perspectives. In this manner, we will develop a world-class glocal-studies research network, and showcase the effectiveness and potential of glocal studies to a global audience. These efforts will enhance the international branding of Seijo University.
Regarding the second branding channel, education, our branding strategy here concerns “resilience,” the model we proposed to encapsulate a glocally savvy workforce that can straddle the boundary between the global and the local. Our strategy is to raise awareness of the concept and how it forms a core part of education at Seijo University. This strategy will also help spark a global discussion about the workforce necessary to create an inclusive society.
Seijo University will establish its brand by incorporating the project’s research findings into its own educational programs.
For the third branding channel, local contributions, we will jointly organize international symposia with Seijo Manabi-no-Mori (the university’s adult-education and lifelong-learning education organization), Japan Massive Open Online Courses, and international academic institutions (e.g., IRCI and the World Social Sciences and Humanities Network). We will use such symposia to communicate the glocal studies findings—in particular, the new model of human qualities (“resilience”)—to a global audience. These symposia will also prompt people to reevaluate the basic questions of human life, including, how are we to live in these confused times and in the even more confused times to come?
Additionally, the theoretical and methodological frameworks in glocal studies will be applied in practical ways. One application is coordination between global and local actors (examples of applicable research include a study on how UNESCO’s global policies on intangible cultural heritage are received or tailored to local interests, and a study on participation in omotenashi initiatives to welcome international visitors who attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics). Another application is urban redevelopment in global cities (examples of applicable research include a study on redevelopment in the slums in Manila, Philippines, and Seijo town-building initiatives).