Japanese Sociology and Post-Western Theory (2): Traditions and Heritages

Japanese Sociology and Post-Western Theory (2): Traditions and Heritages

20 Monday
Mon, 20/03/2023

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.



Sociologies in dialogue and Post-Western Theory
As part of the work on Post-Western Theory that gave rise to the IAL Post-Western Sociology between China and France, directed by Laurence Roulleau Berger, ENS de Lyon is hosting, from March 10 to 22, 2023, Daishiro Nomiya, professor of sociology at Chu University, Tokyo, vice-president of the East Asian Socialogical Association (EASA), and Sari Hanafi, professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut, president of the International Sociological Association (ISA). This is the first time that the ENS de Lyon receives the president of the ISA.
Several workshops, seminars ansd conference are scheduled, resolutely multidisciplinary and international, involving researchers from Triangle, the Center Max Weber and the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies. The aim is to open a space for discussion on the internationalization of sociology.


9:30 am - 9:50 am : introduction by Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Research Director at CNRS, HDR in sociology -French Director of International Advanced Laboratory (IAL) Triangle, ENS Lyon: Post-Western Sociology :traditions and legacies.

9:50 am - 10:45 am : Dai Nomiya, Professor of sociology at Chuo University, Tokyo-Director and Program Chair Global Sociology, Vice-president of the East Asian Sociological Association : Japanese Sociology and Historical Legacies

It was in the latter half of the 19th century when sociology as a discipline was introduced to Japanese academia. The Meiji Restoration in 1868 paved a way for a new and western-styled modernization of the country. Spencer’s theory of the evolution of society appealed well to intellectuals and political and industrial leaders in Japan, who firmly believed that Japan would soon catch up with the Western societies and become a military and scientific giant.

Entering into 20th century, the Japanese intellectual adopted a more and varied genre of sociology from abroad. G. Simmel, F. Tönnies, and R. M. MacIver were successively introduced to Japanese academia, exposing what we call today formal sociology to the Japanese intellectuals. In later years, Marxist sociology and German cultural sociology came to be recognized as a way to promote the study of the state and classes in more concrete terms. Along with this movement came a new strategic change in the study of sociology: introduction of empirical and positivistic sociology. Introduction of Durkheim, especially his spirit of empirical rigor, may have pushed this trend further.

Post-war period Japan witnessed another unfolding of sociology as a discipline. Rapid socioeconomic development pushed Japanese sociologists to study the social development and associated societal change and social problems. Assisted by an avid import of American sociology, theories of modernization, social stratification, economic sociology, communication, social psychology as well as other subareas of sociology were in full bloom, giving sociology an impression of collected stature of many subdivided areas.  Theories of sociology were also introduced one after another; functionalism, conflict theory, exchange theory, symbolic interaction, phenomenological sociology, critical theory, ethnomethodology, etc.

It is true that even today, Japanese sociology continues to have followed Western sociological traditions. Apart from this trend, there appears to be a genre of academic practice that runs as an undercurrent of collective endeavor of Japanese sociologists. This undercurrent may set apart Japanese sociology from the Western sociology. That is, qualitative inquiry that puts an individual as the unit of analysis and observe mental and psychological dispositions in light of the social structure in which the individual is situated.  Here, personal experiences, together with difficulties and unexpected incidents in life, are highlighted as an subject of study.  Logical derivations, and clear explanations of the causes of the incidents are rather remote interest; more, query remains what occurred in the eyes of the individual in question. The presentation also tried to pay attention to this “Japanese undercurrent.”

Daishiro Nomiya is a Professor of sociology at Chuo University, Tokyo, Director and Program Chair Global Sociology. He received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U.S.A. He has published and contributed to numerous books and articles in the field of social movements and globalization, including Global Modernity from Coloniality to Pandemic: A Cross-disciplinary Perspective (2022), Summit Protest: Social Movements in the Age of Globalization (2016), Knowledge toward Society: Theory and Method in Modern Society (2005), and Social Movements and Culture (2002). Currently he is the Vice-president of the East Asian Sociological Association, and the Japanese Association of Human Resource Development. Also, he is at the head of the Future Sociology Division of the Sociology Committee in the Academy of Science in Japan.


10:45 am - 12:00 am: discussion opened by

Audrey Vézian, is Senior Researcher at CNRS, PhD in sociology, Triangle ENS Lyon. Her research interests are sociology of biomedicine and sociology of public action, the sociology of professions. Her research deals with the organization of biomedical activities and the processes of rationalization involved in this, and the processes of designing and implementing public healthcare policies. Her representative works are: Les politiques de lutte contre le cancer en France : regards sur les pratiques et les innovations médicales (Presses de l’EHESP, 2019), "The Regulation of Public Data: The  Difficult Case of the Health Sector" in Digital Transformation and Public Policies, ISTE Science Publishing LTD, 2023.

Jérémy Jammes is Full Professor in Social Anthropology and Asian Studies at the Lyon Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Lyon), and Research fellow at the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO, UMR 5062). He is an active researcher specializing on East Asia and Southeast Asian geopolitics and religions. Among his books: Les Oracles du Cao Đài. Étude d’un mouvement religieux vietnamien et de ses réseaux (Les Indes savantes, 2014), Muslim Piety as Economy: Markets, Meaning and Morality in Southeast Asia (edited with Johan Fischer, Routledge, 2020), Fieldwork and the Self: Changing Research Styles in Southeast Asia (edited with Victor T. King, Springer, 2021). He is co-editor-in-chief of a Routledge Series on “Study in Material Religion and Spirituality”.

Samir Hadj Belgacem is Associate Professor, PhD in sociology, University Jean Monnet (Saint-Etienne), and is attached to the Max Weber Center (Public Cultures Team). His research deals with the logics of electoral and partisan commitment in working-class neighborhoods and the political representation of minority fractions of the working classes. He recently published: with J.Taplin, H. Balazard, M.Carrel,S. Kaya, A. Purenne and G. Roux, L'épreuve de la discrimination. Enquête dans les quartiers populaires, PUF, 2021., "'De petits refus'. Conflits associatifs avec la municipalité et engagement électoral dans les cités," Sociétés contemporaines, vol. 118, no. 2, 2020, pp. 51-78 and co-edited with F. Nasri the book La Marche de 1983. De la mémoire à l'histoire d'une mobilisation collective, Nanterre, Presses Universitaires de Paris Nanterre, " Les passés dans le présent", July 2018, 283 p.

Laurence Roulleau-Berger is Research Director at CNRS, Triangle, ENS of Lyon, PhD Supervisor in sociology. She is the French Director of the International Advanced Laboratory ENS Lyon/CNRS -Chinese Academy of Social Social Sciences Post-Western Sociology in Europe and in China. She has led numerous research programs in Europe and in China in urban sociology, economic sociology, and sociology of migration over thirty years. Since 2006, she is involved in an epistemological way on the fabric of post-Western sociology paradigm. She has published numerous books, articles and chapters, among the most recent: Post-Western Revolution in Sociology. From China to Europe (2016); Young Chinese Migrants, Compressed Individual and Global Condition (2021); Sociology of Migration and Post- Western Theory, co-ed. with Liu Yuzhao (2022); co-edit with Li Peilin, Kim Seung-Kuk, Shujiro Yazawa (2023), Handbook of Post-Western Sociology. From East Asia to Europe, Brill Publishers, forthcoming in 2023 March. In 2021 she was awarded Life Fellow, Global China Academy, British Academy.

In social sciences the challenge that has developed over the past twenty years is a major one, revolving as it does around the question of the international recognition of non-Western knowledge. From the production of an epistemology shared with European, Chinese, Japanese and Korean sociologists, we have proposed a Post-Western Sociology to enable a dialogue – held on an equal footing – on European and Asian theories, to consider the continuities and discontinuities, the conjunctions and disjunctions between sociological knowledge spaces situated in different social contexts, to work on the gaps/intervals between them. Post-Western Sociology is producing an ecology of diverse knowledges from Asia and Europe. From this ecology of knowledge between the “Western-West”, the “non-Western-West”, the “Western East”, the “Eastern East”, and the” re-Easternized East” situated on an epistemological continuum we can observe, on one hand, the multiplication of epistemic autonomies vis-à-vis Western hegemonies, and, on another hand, epistemic assemblages between European and Asian sociologies. This groundbreaking contribution is to co-produce a Post-Western Space in a cross-pollinization process  where “Western” and “non-Western” knowledges do interact, articulated through cosmovisions, as well as the co-production of transnational fieldwork practices. Post-Western Sociology is above all relational, dialogue-based and multi-situated.


Ahmed Boubeker is Professor of sociology and former deputy director of Centre Max Weber at Lyon University. His research interests are sociology of migrations, ethnicity, and postcolonial studies. His representative works are: De Tokyo à Kinshasa. Postmodernité et postcolonialisme (Editions L’harmattan, 2021); Les Plissures du social. Des circonstances de l’ethnicité dans une société fragmentée (Presses Universitaires de Lorraine, 2016); Les non lieux des immigrations en Lorraine. Mémoire et invisibilité sociale (Presses Universitaires de Lorraine, 2016); Les mondes de l’ethnicité (Balland, 2003); and Familles de l’intégration (Stock, 1999). 


  • Laurence Roulleau-Berger, Research Director at CNRS, HDR in sociology, French Director of the IAL Post-Western Sociology in China and in Europe, Triangle, ENS Lyon
  • Dai Nomiya, Professor of sociology at Chuo University, Tokyo-Director and Program Chair Global Sociology, Vice-president of the East Asian Sociological Association
  • Audrey Vézian, is Senior Researcher at CNRS, PhD in sociology, Triangle ENS Lyon.
  • Jérémy Jammes is Full Professor in Social Anthropology and Asian Studies at the Lyon Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Lyon), and Research fellow at the Lyon Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO, UMR 5062)
  • Samir Hadj Belgacem is Associate Professor, PhD in sociology, University Jean Monnet (Saint-Etienne)
  • Ahmed Boubeker, Professor of sociology at University Jean-Monnet, Centre Max Weber.