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Minpaku Special Research Projects(2022-2029)

The fourth mid-term goals period
Theme: “Ethnic Groups and Ethnicity in the Post-Nationalist Era”

About “Ethnic Groups and Ethnicity in the Post-Nationalist Era”

As globalization progresses with its large-scale movements of peoples, ethnic conflicts and divisions have been intensifying worldwide. Current issues include racism, anti-immigration, minority oppression, ethnic violence, and genocide. Japan is no exception. Although local governments are promoting multicultural coexistence measures, the problems of foreign workers, hate speech against certain ethnic groups, and discrimination against ethnic minorities remain unresolved, and in fact appear to be worsening.

These ongoing problems on a global scale are not only caused by the movements and migrations of people, but also by the declining status and influence of nation-states. Since established states have become unable to maintain their existing systems of managing inter-ethnic relations, there is now more fluidity to meanings, boundaries, and usages of the categories of “ethnicity,” which have carried different meanings at various historical periods and in different societies. Another factor may be the dismantling, and sometimes dissolution, of categories such as family, community, nation, gender, religion, class, etc., which have been intertwined with ethnicity and have ordered the social world. There has also been a blurring of the boundaries between these categories and concepts of ethnicity

This research aims to present new approaches for analyzing these issues related to ethnicity. These holistic viewpoints will include cultural, political, economic, social, environmental, and historical aspects, analyzing these within the processes of “ethnic” reconfiguration in the post-nationalist era. This research will describe the processes of interactions at the boundaries between ethnic groups in specific regions, the reclassification of ethnic groups by nations under changing international conditions, and the production of new ethnic identities that transcend national borders. A comparative investigation will be made of the functions of the new “ethnic” categories that emerge in these processes, and the intertwining of various discourses, practices, and institutions that produce such categories in the form of their effects. Focusing on the nation-state, museums, history, religion, and violence, we aim to propose a new anthropological approach to solve problems for the realization of a diverse and inclusive society where all people respect each other and live together regardless of cultural differences.

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