The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Seminars, Symposia, and Academic Conferences

Saturday, February 22 ~Sunday, February 23, 2014
《International Symposium》Social movements and the production of knowledge: Politics, identity and social change in East Asia

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  • Date: Saturday, February 22 10:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. / Sunday, February 23, 2014 10:30 a.m. - 3:40 p.m.
  • Venue: Conference Room 4, National Museum of Ethnology
  • Hosted by: National Museum of Ethnology
  • Inquiries: 10-1 Senri Expo Park, Suita, Osaka 565-8511, Japan
    Tel: +81-(0)6-6876-2151
    e-mail: happysmile [at]


Research on new social movements has flourished in many parts of the world since the mid-1990s. Although culture or identity has been one of main concerns within this field, anthropologists have not played a prominent role in the theoretical and methodological debates. Based on examples from East Asia, the aim of this symposium is to stimulate theoretical and methodological debates from the perspective of anthropology. We recognise that the process of knowledge production is a central facet of social movements.

We will explore the production of knowledge, culture, and identity in social movements, such as environmentalism, indigenous politics, feminism, democratisation and social welfarism. The social practices involved include demonstrations, sit-ins, and other practices that have been used in response to contradictions generated by state control or capitalist expansion. Other practices include ritual, story-telling, movie making, artistic performances, self-help group meetings, the Internet activism, utopianism, social business, and even the conservation of cultural heritage. The resulting experiences and knowledge have sometimes countered dominant views, leading to alternative views on society, reconsideration of the everyday life taken for granted, and changes in the common habits of everyday life. In this symposium we will give attention to cognitive knowledge, and also the kinds of embodied knowledge (forms of practice, memory, emotions) that are produced and reproduced. Our investigation requires that we reflect on how scholars position themselves toward movements and activists.

A broad range of political practices constitute a social movement. We will discuss the potential of ethnographic approaches to study practices, social movements, and the role of knowledge production in those movements. Although East Asia has always been replete with social movements, anthropologies of social movements in the region have only recently emerged, and separately in each country. As the first dialogue among anthropologists working on social movements of South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, this symposium will greatly expand and enrich our understanding.


22 February, 2014
Time Contents
10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. Welcome
Ken'ichi SUDO (National Museum of Ethnology)
10:40 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Introduction on Symposium
Kyo HIRAI (National Museum of Ethnology)
11:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m. Indigenous Land Rights Movement and Embodied Knowledge in Taiwan
Shu-Yuan YANG (Academia Shinica, Taiwan)
11:40 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. The Role of Museum Materials on Name-Correction Movement of 'Ping-pu' Peoples in Taiwan
Atsushi NOBAYASHI (National Museum of Ethnology)
12:20 p.m. - 1:20 p.m. Lunch
1:20 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Continuity and Stasis in the Ainu Rights Recovery Movement: the Dialectic between (Indigenous) Struggle and Mainstream Cooptation of Cultural Reproduction
Jeff GAYMAN (Hokkaido University)
2:00 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. "Being Okinawan" within and beyond the Ethnic Line: the Process of Identity Formation in an Okinawan Cultural Activist Group in Osaka
Sumi CHO (University of Michigan)
2:40 p.m. - 2:50 p.m. Break
2:50 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Anniversaries and 'Politics of Memories' in South Korea
Yuko MANABE (University of Tokyo)
3:30 p.m. - 4:10 p.m. Sweet Memories: Counter Narratives of South Korea's Democracy Movement
Shimpei OTA (National Museum of Ethnology)
4:10 p.m. - 4:20 p.m. Break
4:20 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Storytelling and Change in the Habitus: an Emergent Form of Minamata Disease Victims’ Movement in Japan
Kyo HIRAI (National Museum of Ethnology)
23 February, 2014
Time Contents
10:30 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. Women's Movement in Embarrassment: Ideal and the Real
Mari KAGAYA (National Museum of Ethnology)
11:10 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. "People's Power" Revisited: Evolving Landscapes of Grassroots Activism in South Korea
Mun Young CHO (Yonsei University, Korea)
11:50 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. New Urbanism: The Rise and Fall of Community Power in Taiwan
Ya-Chung CHUANG (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan)
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Comments
John CLAMMER (United Nations University)
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. General Discussion
3:30 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. Closing