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The 8th workshop on Social Capital and Development Trends in Japanese and Swedish Countryside

Date: May 20 - 22, 2011
Venue: Nara Prefecture New Public Hall, Japan

Organized by:
Marginal Area Research Group

In collaboration with:
- Center for Research in Business Administration, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University
- Global COE Program "Global Center for Education and Research on Human Security Engineering for Asian Megacities"

Number of attendants: about 50

Report 151


Under the current progressive movement of globalization enhanced by the development of transportation networks and innovations of information systems, the existence of rural regions stands on the edge of a precipice. Regional problems that rural areas are faced with are characterized by depopulation, aging society, degradation of natural resources, just to mention a few influencing factors. So far, the national and local governments have taken various policies to overcome these problems, while limits of governmental capacity have often been demonstrated. In this context, it is the time for us to build a new paradigm of community governance in order to enhance the substance of rural regions. Especially, collaborative management of a local community supported by various stakeholders, e.g. local residents, voluntary associations, tourists, and so on is required. One of the most important concepts that we should take into consideration is the concept of “social capital.” In general, social capital refers to networks filled with norms of one’s community that enhance trust, concern for one’s associates, and cooperation. In several fields of research and public policy making, the concept of social capital swept to prominence as a key issue for community governance. Discussing and materializing the concept of social capital in a local community will contribute in enhancing the rural substance and development. The objective of the workshop is to discuss common topics of rural regions of Sweden and Japan, with the concept of social capital as common denominator. This workshop is the eighth workshop with this theme.


In the symposium, Prof.Kawashima, who is a professor of Gakusyuin University, made a keynote lecture titled “Agroforestry of a Karen Village: Social Life-style and Philosophy of Forest Management in North-western Thailand, which includes a variety of examples that local people manage social capital. Following the keynote lecture, the symposium has six sessions over two days. The symposium had five presentations from Swede participants and thirteen presentations from Japanese participantsIn addition, Indian, Korean and Laotian participants made presentations on social capital in Asian countries. A lot of fruitful and active discussions on social capital were conducted. In the concluding remarks, the 9th workshop in Osterlen, Sweden, and the 10th workshop in Kurokawa, Japan were announced and reached an agreement of continuous cooperative relationship.

Left: Opening Remarks from Prof.Kobayashi
Right: Keynote lecture from Prof. Kawashima