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Projects Under the Research Theme
Cecilia Milwertz, senior researcher, NIAS
Wang Fengxian, Institute of Sociology, Beijing Academy of Social Sciences
This is a grounded-theory study of the living and changing phenomenon of organizing from below to address gender and development issues in the People’s Republic of China during the approximately ten-year period from the mid-1990s to 2006. We are concerned with relations between the social entrepreneurs, foreign development aid organizations and domestic party-state institutions involved in the knowing or involved in the phenomenon that we define as non-government - initiated organizing. Our main questions are: How have know ledges and practices relating to both form and content of organizing to address social issues been created through processes of intra-action between social entrepreneurs and people from foreign donor organizations and domestic party-state institutions? How have knowledge and practices that have developed within the framework of the People’s Republic of China met up with knowledge and practices from Western development aid organizations.
This project is part of the larger Norwegian-Asian project Re-visiting Gender in Development: Complex Inequalities in a Changing Asia.
Project coordinator: Professor Ragnhild Lund, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Geography/NTNU Social Research.
Funding: The Research Council of Norway
Min Dongchao, professor, NIAS
This interdisciplinary project is concerned with the cross-cultural translation of knowledge and practices that may or may not take place when different cultures interact, and the resulting production of new knowledge. Taking the travelling routes of gender theory and practice to, and also between, China and the Nordic countries as the empirical object of study, the project will focus on the crucial questions of why and how knowledge travels or fails to travel. The project will explore in which forms and by whom knowledge is sent, received, understood, translated, or even refused. The project then seeks to assess the
impact of these travels.
The main objective is to develop an interdisciplinary framework in the form of an alternative travelling theory to facilitate an improved understanding of the cross-cultural translation of knowledge and practices. The project is significant for the European Research Area, as well as for governments, civil society and public opinion in light of increased cross-cultural interaction between Europe and Asia.
Timeframe: 2013 to 2016
Aki Tonami, researcher, NIAS
This research aims to investigate the nature of development policies of Nordic and Asian countries, as well as contributing factors that shape differences and similarities of their development policies. In doing so, we not only consider the aspect of governance and institutions, but also cultural relations that comprise differences and similarities. With the existing academic research, analysis on individual country’s development aid is often conducted but comparisons with a particular focus on the relations of Europe and Asia are limited. Such analysis is imperative for governments and other institutions that engage in development aid such as NGOs in order to increase more cooperation and coordination between Europe and Asia.
Through this research, we will also examine the history and current and future directions of diplomacy of these regions. To do that, we choose three prominent donor countries from Nordic and Asian regions, specifically, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, and Japan. The nature of development aid is classified to the following:
Timeframe: August 2011-January 2013
Geir Helgesen, director, NIAS
Based on experiences from the human-rights dialogue between the EU and the People’s Republic of China this project questions whether the existing Western approach towards North Korea has taken the right track towards a mutual acceptable agreement.
The project thus aims at identifying ways of addressing the problem while avoiding the strong animosities between the parties engaged in the ongoing Korean conflicts, which are rooted in a web of historical, national, international and socio-cultural differences and disagreements. The project is based on the understanding that culture - understood as values, norms and a generally disseminated and broadly accepted worldview - is a fact of life, and affects people in particular ways, differently from region to region. These differences may hamper international understanding even more than ideological animosities and political conflicts. When political entities are located in different cultural spheres, as in this case, it may disturb communication between the parties concerned to such a degree that mutual understanding is rendered impossible. The key to this problem may be to culturally contextualize the existing disagreements and invest an empathic approach to conflicts at hand.
The project is carried out in collaboration with senior researcher Hatla Thelle, of the Danish Institute for Human Rights and research assistant Ras Tind Nielsen, NIAS.
Network coordinator: Geir Helgesen
Funding: NordForsk and the Academy of Korean Studies
Nicol Foulkes, PhD candidate at the Department of Social Research, University of Tampere since 2007 and based at NIAS
This doctoral research project is a comparative analysis of Nordic migrants who travel in conjunction with work for a limited period of time to the emerging economy and developing country, India, from a Northern European perspective. It investigates how diversely the migrants’ social citizenship is affected by the move to some of the most culturally and environmentally challenging cities of the world (Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore) that lie outside of the territory of the European Union, exploring Rainer Bauböck’s (2010) theory on the existence of citizenship constellations and the notion of privilege. The project utilizes a combination of semi-structured interviews, and detailed questionnaires with individuals from Denmark, Finland, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands who are living in the megacities of India (interviews carried out in 2009).
Funding: The Academy of Finland Future of Work and Well Being, LabourNet Graduate School, University of Tampere
Timeframe: (First) Final draft of thesis planned to be submitted by December 2011
Supervision: Pertti Koistinen, University of Tampere and Olli Kangas, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland