国際社会学会メルボルン大会に参加 ISA Melbourne Conference Report

From June 25 to July 1, 2023, I participated in the World Congress of Sociology held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), a general convention facility in Melbourne, Australia. Like the Olympics, the International Sociological Association (ISA) holds a large-scale conference every four years that brings together sociologists from all over the world, and this year was the 20th such conference. As a post-Corona world congress, it was held in a hybrid format of in-person and online, but it attracted a total of over 4,500 participants, of which 3,024 were in-person, announced ISA President Sari Hanafi. The venue for this year's event was a so-called integrated resort (IR), which combines a conference center with casino facilities and hotels, and the large space was very lively as sociologists from various countries and regions of the world gathered there. Unlike Japan in the rainy season, Melbourne in the dry winter was cold, but I strangely forgot the change in climate with the excitement and tension of such a large venue.

 I presented my research at the first morning session of the Urban and Regional Sociology Group (RC21) on June 27. The overall theme of the session was Civic Society, Public Institution and Governance, a topic strongly related to "planning and coordination" and "citizen government" in which we are conducting research at NPOs. I presented my research concept of rethinking "innovative local government" from the perspective of "individual experience," rather than institutions and policies. Following the individual research presentations, there was a question-and-answer session on basic issues, followed by a general discussion in the latter half of the session. Although my research is still in its budding stages, I felt that our perspective of seeking a deeper understanding of postwar local government and its connection to contemporary urban space through the collection and analysis of life histories had gained a certain degree of understanding. Although I was not able to communicate the contents in depth or discuss them in connection with further global academic trends due to my own lack of ability, I believe that the constructive comments and interest in our research were a valuable asset.

 In addition to these academic exchanges, I was very happy to be able to reconnect with old acquaintances. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to interact with Japanese researchers (strangely enough, I think we were able to have more active conversations and exchanges of opinions with each other than when we met in Japan). Also, a friend I met at a conference in Auckland last year came to my section meeting to offer support and comments. This personal connection was one of the things that made me truly happy to have attended this year's ISA conference.

 Reflecting on the Q&A and comments at the conference, as well as on my own presentation, I have gained some insight into my perception of the current situation, as well as some challenges for the future. The first issue is how we should position and discuss the case of Yokohama City, including Akira Tamura. Needless to say, there are many cities in the world, and there are as many people who create cities as there are cities, but to what extent are the attempts made in Yokohama during Asukata-led city administration and the practices inherited from it suggestive for such people? At initial stage, I thought it would be important to extract a certain degree of universality from the case studies and derive a common denominator that would enable global comparisons. Recently, however, I have come to believe that it is more important to actively talk about particularities rather than commonalities, and the comments I received at this conference have further strengthened this belief. I wondered where the motivation of those who created the cities originated from (one commenter used the Japanese word "Ikigai," meaning "purpose in life"). What kind of outcome did this have in later times? What practices in the name of "planning and coordination" and "citizen's government" did Akira Tamura and those around him perform, and how did they make sense of their own work? There is no doubt that it is significant to talk about this particular experience. However, I think that we (at least I) have not yet sufficiently prepared the theoretical background to which we should conform when illuminating this particular experience. I would like to leave this as an issue for the future.

Another comment from several people was that they would like us to collect life histories of municipal officials who have had unique experiences, as many as possible and in as much depth as possible. This will provide material for thinking about local government in postwar Japan, but in terms of motivation, it will be an important reference for thinking about local government officials and governance in various regions of the world. I would like to continue to conduct interviews, but I also thought it important for us as an NPO to continue to maintain our role as an archive of such life histories (and, of course, documents related to urban development and local government).

    Although there are many difficulties involved in conducting activities in English (partly due to my own inexperience with English), I believe that this will once again be an important opportunity for us to deliver our research activities to the world. Of course, it is important to publish completed papers, but I believe that it is also important to continue to promote the archiving and distribution of our work, and to share the achievements and practices of Akira Tamura and his colleagues with the world, and to open the way for us to think about city planning and local governments in a broader context, including both evaluation and criticism. I believe that this will open the way for us to think about urban development and local government in a broader context, including evaluation and criticism. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this precious opportunity, and I hope that I can continue to contribute to such activities in my own way to the best of my ability.


By Atsuhiro Aoki

2023International Sociological Association メルボルン大会参加報告



 2023625日から71日にかけてオーストラリアのメルボルンの総合コンベンション施設Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre(通称MCEC)で開催された社会学の世界的学術大会に参加してきました。International Sociological AssociationISA)はオリンピック同様に4年にいちど、世界中の社会学者を集めた大規模な大会を開催するのですが、今回はちょうどその20回目に当たります。ポストコロナの世界大会ということで対面とオンラインのハイブリッドの形式での開催となりましたが、総勢4500人を超える参加者を集め、そのうち3024人が対面参加だったとISA会長のSari Hanafiからアナウンスがありました。今回の会場は会議場とカジノ施設やホテルが一体となったいわゆる統合型リゾート(IR)であり、広い空間に世界の様々な国や地域から社会学者たちが集結していて、とても活気がありました。梅雨の日本と違い、乾いた冬のメルボルンは冷えましたが、私はそうした大規模な会場の熱気と緊張で不思議と気候の変化を忘れていました。

 私が自分の研究発表をしたのは、都市・地域社会学グループ(RC21)の6月27日の午前中最初の部会でした。セッション全体のテーマはCivic Society, Public Institution and Governanceであり、まさに我々がNPOで研究を遂行している「企画調整」や「市民の政府」に強く関連するトピックであったと言えます。私は「革新自治体」を制度や政策ではなく「個人の経験」という視点から再考するという研究構想を発表しました。また個別の研究発表に続いて基本的な事柄に関する質疑応答と、部会の後半に会場全体での討論が行われました。私の研究はまだ萌芽的なものではありますが、ライフヒストリーを通じて、戦後の地方自治についての理解を深め、また現代の都市空間へのつながりを求めるという視点については一定の理解を得られたという感触を得ることができました。私自身の力不足により、内容を深めて伝えることや更なる世界的な学術の潮流に結びつけて論じることはできなかったところもありますが、建設的なコメントや我々の研究への関心を持っていただけたことは貴重な財産となったと思っております。