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Re-construction of the notions of movement in Human History: With focus on fric- tion between “Free” and “Unfree”

Research period:2019.10-2023.3

SUZUKI Hideaki


Human History , Movement , Free/Unfree 


The objective of this research project is to reconsider notions of movement in human history with a particular emphasis on the friction between “free” and “unfree,” and construct a new horizon for migration studies. There are a variety of aspects in the factors for the movement of people, including “evacuation” due to phenomena related to survival such as persecution, conflict, and natural disasters, “forced movement” of specific groups or individuals, and “migration/immigration” based on free-will. With “forced movement,” the unfree-ness, victimhood, and tragedy of migrants have been emphasized above all else, and they have been understood as lacking subjecthood. In contrast, this project will consider the friction between free-ness and unfree-ness in cases of movement phenomena included in the category of “forced movement” (e.g. slave trade, forced migration, contract labor, and political refugees) of different temporal and spatial nodes, and reconsider the concept of movement in human history while attempting to compare each case. Specifically, we will reinterpret movement phenomena from the standpoint of the people and groups moving, taking into account political, religious, economic, cultural, and environmental factors that caused the movement. By combining a macro and micro approach in this way and comparing and relating various types of movement in different contexts with a focus on the friction between “free” and “unfree,” we aim to reconstruct notions that will contribute to new developments in the study of migration in human history.