15 Specialized Courses

Contemporary Social Issues

22 August 2017 Last updated

Overview of the course

The interaction of humans with nature has been seriously undermined and is becoming increasingly complex in modern society. The objective of the “Contemporary Social Issues” course is gaining understanding of contemporary society through an interdisciplinary approach that bridges the humanities and social sciences in exploring leading issues in modern society. For example, we analyze the changes in thinking surrounding nation states, families and individuals from the perspective of gender theory to capture socially constructed human relations; explore the fluctuation of norms surrounding human life and death; envision an equitable solution to global challenges such as overpopulation, absolute poverty, human-rights violation, etc.; and seek to understand human nature and society in a multicultural world faced with informatization of the consumer society facilitated by innovation in media technology. The “Contemporary Social Issues” course disentangles these conflicting problems theoretically, and provides a means of tackling them realistically.

 
Students’ research themes
  • Gender division of labor in the home in urban China
  • Euthanasia seen from the perspective of the right to self-determination
  • Why is the sex selection of a child unacceptable?
  • Racism in dance hall reggae
  • A sociological study of “created communities”
  • Urban youth subcultures in Japan: The changing perception of public space with reference to the case of parkour
  • NPO/NGO network media: Is accessing the public sphere possible through the Internet?
  • Occupation and sexuality: GHQ’s policy-making on prostitution (Doctoral dissertation)
  • Feminism as relation: From the perspective of interaction between images, individuals and methodology
  • Changes of heart and the development of moral individualism (Doctoral dissertation)
Teaching staff

Kaoru AOYAMA, Professor
Subjects: Gender and Social Culture Theory.
Research fields: Sociology, gender and sexuality. Professor Aoyama is also interested in issues such as globalization, multiculturalism, social exclusion and inclusion, the right to intimacy and representation. She is pursuing a combination of theoretical and empirical research methodologies to look into phenomena that cause changes across public and private life such as immigration, care /sex workers, same-sex marriage, and gender identity “disorder.”

Hiroki OGASAWARA, Professor
Subjects: Media, Society and Culture.
Research fields: Professor Ogasawara is studying sociology and cultural studies. He discusses empirical, theoretical and historical thought regarding the relationship between multicultural capitalism and racism, especially in the fields of media and sport.

Tetsu SAKURAI, Professor
Subjects: Contemporary Jurisprudence.
Research fields: Professor Sakurai’s speciality is legal philosophy. He is particularly engaged in “global justice,” i.e., how we should understand the meaning of national borders when we address global issues such as absolute deprivation, economic disparities, human rights violations and environmental pollution. He is now working on the problem of whether the establishment of national identity is a necessary prerequisite for the stability of democracy.

Akihiko NISHIZAWA, Professor
Subjects: Contemporary Social Theory
Research fields: Professor Nishizawa is studying sociology and urban studies. He has been dealing with contemporary social problems, focusing on the life-world and the identity of the urban poor confronted with social exclusion. His recent books include The Sphere of Poverty: Who is excluded?, Kawadeshobo Shinsha.

 

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