Keio University Global COE Program
 Japanese  English  
 
   
   
   
  Research Outline
 
 
 University: Keio University
  Area of Expertise: Graduate School of Law, Major in Political Science / Graduate School of Law, Major in Civil Law and Public Law / School of Law, Major in Public Law / Graduate School of Human Relations, Major in Sociology / Graduate School of Media and Governance, Major in Media and Governance
  Academic Field: Social Sciences
  Program title: Designing Governance for Civil Society
  Program Leader: Toshiro Tanaka
 
■Research Outline  
The Center of Governance for Civil Society (CGCS) continues the research undertaken by the 21COE-CCC (Designing towards the Ordering of Political Society in a Multi-cultural and Pluri-generational World) and investigates further into the insights and discoveries made in this project. Amongst other things, the 21COE-CCC revealed that the structural factors which inform the ways in which people assess the performance of their government differ greatly amongst different countries; that the people’s assessment of their government and their voting pattern are not necessarily correlated; and that the people’s sense of political efficacy is not necessarily high in local governments that promote efficient public administration and have good policy performance records.
These are political phenomena that are difficult to explain in terms of conventional political science, which stresses the institutional aspects of democracy centering on the idea of ‘participation and equality’. Despite the fact that many advanced nations including Japan meet the institutional requirements of a democracy – such as the existence of multi-party political system and diverse mass media – there is still the problem that people feel largely marginalized by the policymakers although in principle they ought to be a self-governing body which makes its own decisions. CGCS aims to elucidate this political phenomenon, unpack how it was created, and how it can be changed through a consideration of the concept of ‘governance’.
Governance is a concept which was developed in the early twentieth century as a response to the failure of the traditional top-down model of government. Against the failure of nation-building programs imposed upon the people by the policymaking elites, the idea of governance was to emphasize the importance of voluntary participation, decision-making, and the distribution of political and economic values by ordinary citizens. However, the problem we face today is that we cannot talk about ‘the people’ or ‘citizens’ as if it were one coherent body; instead we need to see it as one in which there exists conflicts of interests between fellow citizens and different generations. Moreover, we can no longer understand the people as a body merely claiming their rights and making demands on the government.
Yet if citizens are truly to become an autonomous existence qua members of civil society, the ruling elites must be committed to disclosure and accountability. Here, we will be focusing on the complementary relationship between the elites and citizens, and analyzing the conditions of possibility of governance.
Furthermore, we believe that governance is multi-layered. As the citizen attitude surveys and covariance structure analyses conducted by the 21COE-CCC has shown, there is a multi-layered relationship between the shaping of multicultural worlds, communal identities, or in other words, transnational identities – for example, the EU and the East Asian Community – and issues concerning citizens’ attitude on a lower level, that is, the national level, local level, or even the familial or individual attributive level.
While using the insights of a sociological perspective, we will strive to unveil the ‘multi-layered structure of governance’ at the local, municipal level, the national level, and indeed, the international level. In addition to this, we aim to examine the theoretical aspects of governance and also expand the current Civil Society Data Archive. Ultimately, the CGCS strives to contribute to the study of politics by offering a novel analytical framework of democracy centering on the concept of governance, and thereby to secure a seat as a leading educational and research institution of political science that educates and nurtures many competent and internationally active young researchers.